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Pastrami Meatballs

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 15 min
  • Active: 55 min
  • Yield: 50 to 55 appetizers
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Cooking spray, for the baking sheets

Olive oil, for cooking

1 small onion, finely chopped 

4 cloves garlic, minced 

2 large eggs, lightly beaten 

1 cup breadcrumbs 

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 

2 teaspoons mustard powder

1 tablespoon brown sugar 

2 teaspoons kosher salt 

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper 

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander 

1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke 

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice 

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger 

Freshly ground black pepper 

2 pounds ground beef (I like to use 90/10, but any combination will do here) 

1 loaf sliced rye bread, cut into about 2-inch squares

Brown deli mustard, for serving 

Pickle chips, for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray.
  3. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat and add olive oil to coat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until no longer hot to the touch.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the eggs, breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup water in a large bowl. Allow to sit until the breadcrumbs are soaked through, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, parsley, mustard powder, brown sugar, salt, crushed red pepper, cinnamon, coriander, liquid smoke, allspice, cloves, ginger and some black pepper. Mix to combine, then add the ground beef. Mix until thoroughly combined; I like to use my hands to make sure that everything is evenly incorporated. Form 1-ounce balls, a little bigger than 1 inch in diameter, and place on the prepared baking sheets spaced 1 inch apart.
  5. Bake until cooked through and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
  6. Meanwhile, spread rye squares on a baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Top each toast with a squirt of brown mustard (about 1/2 teaspoon or as desired), 1 meatball and 1 pickle chip. Hold it all together with a toothpick and serve!