This stuffed meatball sub with pork and venison is a great use for extra ground venison, but is a stand alone winner with two epic layers of cheesy goodness.
Full credit where credit is due. This did not start off as my recipe. You see, when I was at the Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival (aka FWFWF!) earlier this year, this gorgeous and bubbly blonde asked to have her picture with me (what?! cray!), and then we got to chatting about food, as you do. She told me about an excellent recipe for stuffed pork & venison baked meatballs on her site, and thought I’d be interested since I’m always on the lookout for new ways to use venison. So thank you, Brittany, I made your meatballs and they rocked! Then I used them to create this ridic sub and I hope you’ll approve.
While this is undoubtedly an excellent use for ground venison (anything that adds a little extra fat to the usually lean meat is gonna turn out great), you can in fact make this with just about any variety of ground meat. Not a venison fan? Go for all pork. Want something with even more flavor? Try a half beef half pork combo. Just remember that fat is flavor (and juiciness) so you want to use a grind that is 80/20.
Making these stuffed meatball subs on super large buns (but small enough to fit in your oven of course) is also an easy way to feed a bunch of hungry folks – say, ones who may be over to watch football, for example. Just lay out the sandwiches and let people cut their own portions out, though no doubt we all have that one friend who will happily eat a two-footer all to themselves!
Whether you prefer to call it a sub, hoagie, hero or grinder, just know that you’re gonna love it.
Combine pork, venison, parmesan, breadcrumbs, egg, onion, pepper, garlic, red pepper and salt to taste. Using clean hands, mix all ingredients until combined, being careful not to overwork the meat.
Take a golfball sized chunk of the meat mix, lightly flatten into a disc then place a mozzarella cube in the centre, and close the meat around it to seal it in. Place meatball in a large cast iron skillet or baking dish, then repeat until all meatballs have been formed. You can have the meatballs touching in the dish, they actually work better than way.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top.
In a small saucepan, warm the marinara sauce with the parsley, reserving some of the parsley to sprinkle onto the finished subs.
Cut a “V” shape or triangle out of the top of the buns, this is a far more effective way to fill your sub than just a traditional lengthwise slice, which can be too tight to hold the filling.
Spoon warmed marinara sauce into the freshly cut buns, enough to be generous without completely soaking the bun, then nestle in your meatballs. Add the shredded mozzarella between each meatball and over the top, then place under the broiler for 4-6 minutes or until mozzarella has melted.
Sprinkle with a finish of reserved parsley and serve.
Note 1: If you can’t find mozzarella cubes, you can cut a larger block into chunks or cut up mozzarella string cheese sticks.