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Smoky Moose Meatballs

Weather: 37 degrees, cloudy with a chance of meatballs
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Caedmon’s Call

Alaska is home to 2/3 of all the moose in the United States, an estimated 200,000 moose in 2011. On the Kenai Peninsula, we see moose almost daily. Throughout the summer, we had a cow who visited our yard nearly every evening. We affectionately named her “Lucy the Moosey.”

My middle son on our back deck watching a cow moose walk through the back yard

Most Alaskans have some variety of moose meat in their kitchen – jerky, teriyaki sticks, ground moose, moose steaks. They are huge animals (600-1500lbs), and therefore, provide a lot of meat to sustain families and villages. Moose is not gamey like you would expect; it’s very similar to beef, but much more lean. You can easily swap out ground beef for ground moose in any recipe, which is what I’ve done with this meatball recipe.

If you don’t live in Alaska, never fear, you can use all ground beef in this recipe, as it was originally written, with great results. If you’re one of my Alaskan neighbors, feel free to use all moose. The only reason I used half moose and half beef was because our family has been eating the all-beef version for many years and I didn’t want to change it too drastically. They didn’t even notice the difference!

Smoky Moose Meatballs

Smoky Moose Meatballs over Brown Rice Pilaf with Peas

  • Meatballs:
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2lbs ground moose
  • 2c quick cooking oats
  • 1/2c onions, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2t chili powder
  • 1t salt
  • 1/2t garlic powder
  • 1/2t pepper
  • Sauce:
  • 2t liquid smoke
  • 2c ketchup
  • 1/2c brown sugar
  • 1/4c onion, chopped fine
  • 1/4t garlic powder

Preheat a 375 degree oven. Grease a 13x9 pan.

Gently mix all meatball ingredients together in a large bowl. Make walnut-sized balls (I use a medium cookie scoop and roll between my hands until round). Place in rows in prepared pan. Depending on the size of your meatballs, you may need second a smaller pan.

Bake meatballs for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, put sauce ingredients in a saucepan, cover and simmer on low, stirring often.

After 20 minutes, remove meatballs from oven and carefully drain off any grease that may have collected in the pan.

Pour sauce over meatballs and return to oven, baking another 20-25 minutes until sauce is bubbly and meatballs are cooked through.

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