The majority of my ground meat recipes have been included in this chapter, regardless the source animal. A number of recipes in other chapters (mostly soups & sauces) may use ground meat too, but I have provided direct links to many of those recipes on this page too.
My personal experience with meat—and that goes for ground meat as well— is that the source animal defines the flavor more than anything else. The big difference will be beef vs. veal, pork, lamb, goat, chicken, turkey etc. more than whatever you might add to the meat e.g. onions vs. leek, cabbage etc. Those additions don't change that base flavor. That's why meatballs from the same species all taste pretty much the same to me, regardless of what I put in them.
I have prepared these ground meats: beef, veal (in Belgium, I can't get veal in small-town America,) pork, 50-50 mixed beef & pork, horse, (in Belgium, not in US,) lamb, bison. Game meats are not included because I've never had access to them.
Mass-processed ground meat is horrible. Meat from thousands of animals is mixed together and you never know what’s really in it. The one thing you can be sure of is that it is not the best quality meat. Recalls caused by food-borne disease are not even rare anymore and investigations have shown that nearly all store-bought ground meat is contaminated with fecal matter to some extent. Don’t eat that stuff raw. I even say, don’t eat it at all.
I prefer grinding meat at home, especially for raw meat preparations. It isn’t difficult, and it saves me a good deal of money in the long run, especially when I buy those cuts on sale.
You need a good quality grinder to grind your meat at home. (manual $35+ / electric $120 and up). They always come with several grinding plates.
Ground meat freezes very well for cooked dishes. I usually process 10 to 20 lbs. at one time and freeze most of it in 1 lb. packages. For raw meat preparations, I only use freshly ground meat. Previously frozen meat will be mushy.
Pic1: manual-cranked grinder
Pic4: slice & dice the meat
I prepare meatballs often enough and with enough variations that they received their own heading in the ground meat chapter. My personal experience with meat—including ground meat—is that the source animal defines the flavor more than anything else. The big difference will be beef vs. veal, pork, lamb, goat, chicken, turkey etc.
Much of those things you mix in meatballs seem to get lost in the cooking, all the more so when boiled. I think that's why all meatballs taste pretty much the same fairly bland to me. That is why I don't spend much energy on trying out different meatball mixes. Do feel free to create your own experiments with things you like though.
The one other factor that imo affects meatball preparations the most comes from the sauce you serve them with. There are literally thousands of different meat sauces. Name one and you can be pretty sure that someone has eaten meatballs with that sauce.