Meatball Subs with Spicy Beef and Pork Meatballs recipe from cooking with cocktail rings

Meatball Subs with Spicy Beef and Pork Meatballs

One of my favorite sandwiches is the warm, sloppy, melty, meatball sub (sometimes called a hoagie). It’s Italian-American comfort food at it’s finest with beef meatballs slathered in sauce and broiled until the mozzarella cheese topping melts and oozes down the sides of the meatballs. Coming from New Jersey this was always one of my favorite lunches on cold winter days.

The trick to building a perfect sub is starting with good meatballs (I use equal parts ground beef and pork in this recipe) then addingthem to good rolls of bread. The bread can make or break the sandwich – if it’s too soft then the sauce can cause it to turn mushy fast, and if it’s too hard then you may never even get a bite of the sandwich without a meatball popping out the side. 

I added Calabrian chilies to the meatballs to add a little spice and flavor in each bite. Calabrian chilies can be found at gourmet markets or online here (INSERT LINK). It’s one of my favorite ways to kick up the fire in any recipe. The recipe makes more meatballs than you will need for the sandwiches – I like to freeze some for a night when I don’t feel like cooking. 



For the spicy beef and pork meatballs:

1 pound ground beef (80% lean/ 20% fat)

1 pound ground pork 

2 eggs, lightly beaten 

1 cup plain breadcrumbs

½ cup whole milk

1/3 cup grated Parmesan 

2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley 

1 tablespoon chopped oregano

2 teaspoons crushed Calabrian chilies in oil

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 

½ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 


For assembly: 

4 (6-inch) Italian rolls, sliced horizontally  

3 cups marinara sauce of choice, heated 

6 slices low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella, halved horizontally 

6 slices provolone cheese, halved horizontally 



For the spicy beef and pork meatballs: 

Preheat oven to 425ºF. 

Add the beef, pork, eggs, breadcrumbs, milk, Parmesan, parsley, oregano, Calabrian chilies, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to the mixing bowl. Gently combine the mixture with your hands until all ingredients are just incorporated. 

 Roll the mixture into 1½-ounce balls (about 1½-inches in diameter) and place on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes. 

Set meatballs aside until ready to assemble the sandwiches.


For assembly: 

Preheat oven to broil. 

Working one at a time, spoon ¼ cup sauce into the roll then add three meatballs. Spoon another ¼ to 1/3 cup of sauce over the top and alternate slices of the mozzarella and provolone over the top of the meatballs. Repeat with the remaining rolls and ingredients. 

Broil until the cheese is bubbly and the bread is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately. 


Makes 4 (6-inch) sandwiches (recipe makes about 2½ dozen meatballs).  






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