Wednesday, July 25, 2012

5 Star Makeover: Hickory Smoked Wagyu Meatballs with White Beans Two Ways

This month our challenge was...

Light Mediterranean dishes are wonderful in the summertime, Greek cuisine being one example.   Pick a classic Greek Meze, such as hummus, or spanakopita, or dolmades, and make your own version of it.   Or create your own unique meze infusing your culinary style with the classic Greek ingredients or flavors.   

Oh joy...

Lawyer - "In the 12 years we've been together I've never seen you cook Greek food?"

Kitchen Hack - "Nope."

Lawyer - "In fact, I've never seen you eat Greek food."

Kitchen Hack - "Nope."

Lawyer - "So what the hell are you gonna do?"

Kitchen Hack - "I'll do what I always do."

Lawyer - "Make something up?"

Kitchen Hack - "Yup"

If you are looking for a classic Greek dish, well, wait for the round-up right here on Friday.  I am sure my group members will dazzle you with some classic renditions.

I chose to work with two Greek Meze from our list...
  • Keftedakia (little meatballs)
  • Gigantes (white beans)
This dish is basically me playing with my food...

Hickory Smoked Wagyu Meatballs with White Beans Two Ways

The "Dots" are a balsamic reduction.

Hickory Smoked Wagyu Meatballs
  • Wagyu Beef Ribeye - (Expensive but worth it)
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Dried oregano
  • Coals
  • Hickory plank
  • Rice flour
  • Whole egg
  • Cuban cracker meal
  • Peanut oil
This is a "pure" meatball.  No fillers.  Salt is all the binding agent you need.

  1. Cube the meat.  Generously season with sea salt.  
  2. Cover and fridge for 2 hours.
  3. Grind once - using the coarse grinding plate.
  4. Season with black pepper and oregano.
  5. Grind again - using the small fine grinding plate.
  6. Shape into meatballs.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Put in freezer.  10 minutes.
  7. Fire coals.  Allow the coals to heat up and fire to die down.
  8. Lay the meatballs on hickory plank.  Put hickory plank over coals.  
Lil' Smokey Doing Work!
  1. Cover and smoke for 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Allow the meat to cool to room temp.
  3. Cover and fridge overnight.
  4. Remove the meatballs 20 minutes before frying to come to room temp.
  5. Dip in flour, egg, and Cuban cracker meal.
  6. Fry to golden brown.
In essence what you get is a fantastic hickory smoke aroma with a crunchy exterior for textural contrast.

White Bean Puree
  • Dry White Beans - (Rinsed, sorted & soaked overnight)
  • Chicken stock
  • Yellow onion
  • Yukon gold potato - (Peeled & cubed)
  • Star anise pods - 2
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Fresh oregano
  • Bay leaf
  • Sea salt
  • Ground white pepper
  1. Cook together onions & potatoes.  Give them a good sweat.  No real color achieved.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Cook until desired bean consistency is achieved.
  4. Remove the star anise, cinnamon stick & bay leaf.
  5. Strain and reserved some of the cooked white beans.
  6. Check for seasoning.
  7. Re-season with sea salt & white pepper if needed.
  8. Puree until smooth.
  9. Strain through a fine mesh strained.
  10. Serve with a drizzle of good GREEK olive oil.  C'mon I wanna be in theme!
White Bean Saute
  • Thick cut bacon - (Diced)
  • Leek - White & light green parts only - (Sliced, cleaned in water & dried)
  • Plum tomato - (Peeled, seeded & diced)
  • Reserved cooked white beans
  • Fresh oregano
  • White truffle oil
  1. Saute bacon until brown and crisp.  Remove from pan.
  2. Saute leeks in the bacon fat.
  3. Add the white beans.
  4. Add the bacon.
  5. Add the tomato.
  6. Do not overcook.
  7. Remove from the heat.
  8. Add fresh oregano.
  9. Season with salt & black pepper.
  10. Serve with a generous drizzle of white truffle oil.
Now, I know 99.9% of you nice not read blog posts.  Inevitable someone will leave me a comment saying that this is not a classic Greek dish.

Inevitably I will think you to be a douchebag.

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!


  1. Cooked to absolute perfection. I love htat when you just "make it up" you always hit it out of the park!

    1. Nic, I find that spontaneous cooking serves me well. Thanks.

  2. Well done, Laz. Creative and very informative.

  3. Creative, with a lot of attention to detail. Beautiful.

  4. Of course I expected nothing less from you! Such a fun idea and great techniques here. Love the look of that medium rare meat!!! This cements it: I really need a smoker.

    1. Yes, even a little cheap ass smoker like mine does the job. It will serve you well Trix.

  5. Thinking about the way you cook... its like jazz riffs... Miles Davis comes to mind. My coop board has just lifted the no grill rule... I am ecstatic! For those without a grill, a wok with chips can do it for you on the stovetop and it leaves the kitchen smelling awesome. I often do game birds with a smoke before finishing in the oven. Heavenly.

    Love the whole presentation of texture and flavor platforms. Star anise in the beans is just plain brilliant. I bow to the master.

  6. I honestly did not think this was your % star meze on facebook lol. But I love the creativity here and your major own spin on this greek theme. So want to try the meatball specifically.

  7. those meatballs look!!! and love seeing what happens when you play with your food :)

  8. I love the idea of hickory smoked meatballs, how perfectly delicious! And the two ways to prepare the beans is very creative!

  9. This is incredible. I love your technique for the meatballs, between the smoking and frying, it's just spectacular. Really gorgeous presentation too. Love it!

  10. i'm in love with those smoked meatballs! awesome post!

  11. I wish I could taste those meatballs. As usual you rocked this makeover...beautifuly presented...cuidate guapo!

  12. This is not a classic Greek dish.
    Ah, but it is CLASSIC - of the first or highest quality, class, or rank!

  13. Wow, this is gorgeous, Laz! Every part of it sounds delicious, but especially those smoked meatballs -- very nice touch!

  14. I like that you did your own thing instead of something classic. The picture of the meatballs smoking is my favorite. And another good closing zinger at the end!

  15. Those meatballs are gorgeous, and Wagyu is my sons favorite...he will go crazy for this!

    Beautiful and imaginative creations all around!!!


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