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Posts Tagged ‘Meatballs’

Buona Beef Meatballs Review – In Chicago Area Grocers


Buona Beef Meatballs Review

Buona Beef Meatballs Review

Store Packaging

Buona Beef is a local Chicago restaurant chain, started about thirty years ago. They have been on an expansion tear recently, and it seems like they are popping up on a regular basis. As well, they have a few of their products in the grocery stores now. The chain specializes in “Chicago foods,” Italian beef sandwiches, hot dogs, pizza, subs. I’ve previously written about having the beef sandwich in one of their restaurants, as well as having the same product from the grocer. Quality stuff.

They own their own manufacturing facility, where they not only make their products, but also do private label business. Not sure if that’s for restaurants or groceries.

I spotted their meatballs in sauce, recently, and picked up a package to take home. It was around $7. The packages are hard frozen, so it’s best (IMHO) to let them thaw completely in the refrigerator before heating (they are pre-cooked).

The package weight is two pounds, and contains eight fairly good sized meatballs and the marinara sauce. I did not weight the individual balls. There own description of the product is: Authentic hand-rolled meatballs, seasoned with garlic, parsley, and Italian spices in a rich Marinara.

The ingredients listed on the package are thus: Marinara with Meatballs (Marinara Sauce {Fresh Vine-Ripened California Tomatoes, Sugar, Sea Salt, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil, Modified Food Starch, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Spices, Natural Flavor, Naturally Derived Citric Acid], Meatballs [Beef, Pork, Water, Romano Cheese (Cultured Cow’s Milk, Enzymes, Salt), Textured Soy Flour, Bread Crumbs (Bleached Wheat Flour, Salt, Dextrose, Yeast), Seasoning (Salt, Dried Garlic, Spice, Dried Parsley, Brown Sugar, Cottonseed Oil, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate, Citric Acid, BHA, BHT), Ricotta Cheese (Whey, Milk, Cream, Vinegar, Salt, Stabilizers), Caramel Color]).

I was quite happy with the meatballs, they have the density, texture that I like, and great flavor. The sauce is good, but leans towards a little too much “sweet” for my personal taste, for red gravy I’m more in the heavy garlic/fennel camp.

My only real “beef” is I yearn for — say — a 24 pack of balls with no sauce. I’d be a regular.  More than regular.  I see their fresh (not frozen) Italian sausage in stores, as well. Haven’t tried it, but will. I go through a lot of Italian sausage in my kitchen, both link and bulk ground.

If you can’t find their products in your grocer, some of them are available for shipping on their website.

Buona Beef Meatballs Review

Company marketing photo


Buona Beef Meatballs Review

Thawed product at my house! 


Buona Beef Meatballs Review



Buona Beef Meatballs Review

Cross section

Buona Beef Meatballs Review
Buona Beef Meatballs Review
Buona Beef Restaurant Review
Buona Beef Italian Beef Review


Great Value Beef Meatballs Review – WalMart Nationwide


Great Value Beef Meatballs Review“Great Value” is one of  the in-house brands for many WalMart products. They aren’t actually manufacturered by WalMart, of course, they are contracted out to be made to Bentonville’s specifications.

I take great pride in my own meatballs, it’s a recipe that I have screwed around with for decades. When I make them, I do throw them in sauce to cook from a raw state, but I rarely, ok, never serve them with pasta. A waste of bodily capacity, if you ask me, sticking noodles in where more meat could go. But that’s just me. OK, and anybody I serve meatballs too.

But I keep looking for store bought ones to fill the gap, cause my homemade effort is a lot of work and doesn’t get done that often. I’ve found some great ones at Italian delis, but unfortunately, the two I have been to are easily an hour drive – in good traffic.

So I spotted these at WalMart, all beef, breadcrumbs, eggs, cheese, milk, spices. Relatively “pure” ingredients. They come frozen, but pre-cooked, so they are just a heat and eat product. If you had made a marinara, red gravy, spaghetti sauce, you could just toss them in the pot til they were heated through.

Verdict?  They’re ok.  Not as good as mine or the deli’s, but certainly less expensive. Handy for a harried household at least.  The flavor is fine, could be a little stronger, I  think, fennel and garlic if I was in charge, and I’d make the texture a little firmer, a little less on the bread crumb and milk mixture.

The balls are made for WalMart in Tracy, CA at American Custom Meats, a processor of meat products for retail and food service. It’s a sparkling new plant (pictured below).

Great Value Beef Meatballs Review

Hean and eat

Great Value Beef Meatballs Review

Dissected view

Great Value Beef Meatballs Review

Tracy California Meatball Plant







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