Red Sauce America - Food, Culture, and Italian American Experience

No. 282 Braised Meat Balls

By on Tuesday, April 26th, 2022 at 8:23 am | 513 views

Italian-style meatballs served with tomato sauce were one of the few “ethnic” dishes included in the War Department cooking technical manuals in World War II.

The War Department instructions are modular. The instructions are designed to be adaptable based on the available ingredients. Meatballs could be prepared from any various combinations of meat. As for the sauce, Italian-style tomato sauce was one of several sauces the meatballs could be served with.

The recipe is designed to serve 100 people, and was likely prepared in much larger batches. What is interesting to note about the accompanying tomato sauce is that a single clove of garlic is considered adequate for sauce for 100 portions of meatballs.

Just be warned when experimenting with 45 lbs of animal carcass that you are following a recipe for more than 100.

Adapted from U.S. Army War Department Technical Manual, published 1944.


5 lb dry bread
45 lb meat or carcass or 31 lb ground meat
10 eggs
5 lb onions
6.5 oz salt
½ oz pepper
1 qt meat stock


Soak bread in water; press and discard water
Cut meat into pieces.
Grind meat.
Mix all ingredients.
Shape into 2 oz meat balls Place in greased baking pans.
Cook at 400 F until brown on all sides.
Add small amount of stock.
Cover and braise 300 F about 30 minutes.