These crispy fried meatballs are traditionally made by grinding up the leftover trimmings from a butcher shop, and while our version won't have the same diversity of meats, at least we'll know for sure what's in it. At Fern Bar in Sebastopol, where I stole the idea, they'll switch up the ingredients depending on what's around, as well as change the sauce underneath. Garnish these nuggets with pickled vegetables and olives.

Recipe Summary

30 mins
5 mins
1 hr 45 mins
2 hrs 20 mins
18 nuggets


Original recipe yields 10 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Secret Sauce:


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine 3 tablespoons bread crumbs, kosher salt, black pepper, cayenne, rosemary, garlic, milk, and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl. Mix to create a slurry. Let sit for 15 minutes to hydrate bread crumbs.

  • Mix ground lamb and ground beef together gently in another bowl using 2 forks. Mix in bread crumb slurry using the same 2-fork method until just combined. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

  • Place flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in 3 separate shallow dishes. Portion out nuggets using a 1 1/2-tablespoon scoop. Roll nuggets in flour; shake off excess. Dip into beaten eggs using your free hand, shaking off excess between fingers. Transfer to bread crumbs and coat with your dry hand, pressing gently to make sure surface is covered. Sprinkle leftover bread crumbs over a plate and add the nuggets. Refrigerate, uncovered, for 1 hour.

  • Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, and chipotle powder in a bowl for sauce. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  • Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large saucepan to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

  • Fry nuggets in the hot oil until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and let rest and finish cooking for 3 to 4 minutes before serving with sauce.

Chef's Notes:

If you don't have a deep-fryer, feel free to flatten these into semi-patties and pan-fry them in about 1/2 inch of oil.

I went with a fairly restrained combo of just beef and lamb, but that doesn't mean you can't be a little more adventurous. Using pork is an obvious choice, but I think chicken livers would be amazing in this. Above and beyond the meat choices, you also have lots of artistic freedom when it comes to the shape, and what dipping sauce you pair them with.

Editor's Note:

We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10% after cooking. Amount will vary depending on cooking time and temperature, ingredient density, and specific type of oil used.

Nutrition Facts

252 calories; protein 12.2g; carbohydrates 21.1g; fat 14.5g; cholesterol 68.8mg; sodium 562.7mg. Full Nutrition

Reviews (1)

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Rating: 5 stars
I love these! My local store has pre-blended ground pork and beef, so I used that the first couple of times I made it. The most recent time, I mixed pork and turkey. Both were excellent, though the pork/beef blend was a bit richer. I'd suggest being generous with the spices too! All three times I've made them, I've thought it'd be a good base to which you could add a variety of spices and make them more regional - maybe some garam masala or a Mexican spice blend? Anyway, these are always a hit and we come back to them happily. Read More