Unitasker Wednesday: The Meatballer

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

My husband comes from a large Italian family, and when we were first married I decided to learn to make pasta, marinara, and meatballs from scratch. When forming meatballs, I scooped the meat out of the bowl with a soup spoon and then used my hands to roll the meat into a smooth ball. This is the same way I made cookies, so it wasn’t a difficult skill I had to master. Scoop, roll, done.

Little did I know at the time, but there was a kitchen gadget especially for the purpose of making meatballs. The Meatballer:

To be fair, the Meatballer could also be used on cookie dough or for really big melon balls. However, so can a soup spoon. A soup spoon that already lives in your kitchen drawer. Or, if you don’t like spoons, I’m sure your ice cream scoop could work in a pinch (if you own one of those). The reason this doodad seems especially unitaskery to me is because it can’t be easy to cleanly release the meat. Unless you’re greasing the Meatballer between each use (which doesn’t sound appetizing), meat bits are going to stick to it. The great thing about using a spoon is that you can use your fingers to scrape off the meat that sticks to the spoon. There doesn’t seem to be any comparative advantage to using and owning the Meatballer over a spoon.

This device is less expensive than most of the unitaskers we feature. So, maybe throw in a specialty Perfect Meatball Pan Set to raise the price tag!

Thanks go to reader Liz for introducing us to the Meatballer and for getting the lyrics to Skee-Lo’s “I Wish” stuck in my head: I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a (meat)baller, I wish …

25 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: The Meatballer”

  1. posted by Jeff on

    I embarrassingly own this product. It was a gift from my mother in law. I thought it was silly at first, and for those who are afraid to touch the meat, I’m afraid the finished product is not formed enough to escape using your hands. However, I continue to use (but wouldn’t recommend purchasing) it because it helps me create consistently portioned meatballs.

  2. posted by Karen on

    I love dishers (ice cream scoops, basically, but available in different sizes) but this one seems strangely hard to use. A disher might be a unitasker but you can use it for many different foods – including meatballs. (And they usually have a “sweeper” that pushes the food out of the bowl.

  3. posted by Shalin on

    hmmm…looks like a good solution for mass production of meatballs (or any other round food item) for when *everyone* comes to dinner, but otherwise not sure if it’s all that useful.
    This does look interesting though – I’d have to ask my mom if she thinks it would help in preparing some fried Indian foods like samosas, etc.

    Best,
    Shalin

  4. posted by Splomo on

    I have this unitasker, yet I make meatballs by hand. I kept it, thinking that there might be an alternate use for the meatballer, but even now I can’t think of a one.

    I wanted to call uni-nanigans on this unitasker, but cannot. In fact, for me, this is a zero-tasker.

    And now I have an Outkast song in MY head: (Meat)ballin’, ballin’ ballin’, woo, yeah, we (meat)ballin’ …

  5. posted by Marti on

    LOL, my mother used to have one of those. Maybe she still does. But she falls for every gadget advertised.

  6. posted by empty on

    My family had one of these when I was growing up, but no one ever figured out how to use it. The meatballs would stick to it and not come out. I agree that it is a zero-tasker.

    Upon reflection I’m remembering a lot of unitaskers (at best) in our house when I was a child.

  7. posted by Tiffany on

    Who are these heathens who insist on perfectly shaped meatballs?

  8. posted by Jeannette on

    So THAT’s what that thing is! I’ve had an inherited one sitting in a jumble drawer for longer than I care to think about.
    To the thrift store with it!
    Thanks.

  9. posted by raq on

    I own this thing and the only real use is to create consistently portioned meatbaballs. I’m a disaster with portions… even using spoons so I use it for diferent meals. But it’s not useful in creating the actual meatball. For that… two spoons or hands

  10. posted by Beverly on

    This is the first unitasker I’ve seen that I actually have owned (don’t know if I still have it or not). I used to maked LOTS of meatballs for potluck dinners and family reunions. I find having uniformed sized meatballs makes cooking easier. I don’t like frozen meatballs from a store, I prefer mine made out of very lean ground beef.

  11. posted by Karen on

    I have a cookie dough scoop that I received as a gift years ago….it’s actually perfect for scooping meatball-size chunks of meatball meat. So it’s officially a multitasker!

  12. posted by Kim on

    I’m seriously embarrassed by this, and the meatball pan set is just the cherry on this embarrassing little cake!

    Think back to our ancestors who would not have had posh kitchens and fancy utensils. They did everything by hand pretty much, including making any of the tools they used. If they wanted to eat they had to go out, catch it, kill it, prepare it and then cook it. There’d be no worrying about the size and shape of their meat portions – they’d only eat it if they could get it and cook it the best they could.

    I think they too would be embarrassed and wouldn’t know the first thing to do with a meatball baller if they found one!

  13. posted by Baka no Kami on

    People complain about unitaskers, but i think it’s time we did something about them. Ever unitasker from nowbon should come with alternate use suggestions. My idea for this one, mini snowball fights.

  14. posted by Splomo on

    Thank you, Baka no Kami. Miniature snowballs for sure.

    Incoming!! *-*splat*-*

  15. posted by Kelly on

    We had one growing up, but we kept it in a box with the rest of our Play-Doh tools. We kept a toast stamp in there, too. Apparently, the Play-Doh box was where all the unused kitchen tools went.

  16. posted by catastrophegirl on

    ahah! thank you! i have one of those that appeared in a kitchen drawer somewhere along the way, presumably left by some roommate or other. i kept it with the intent to someday find out what it was or what to use it for. if it was larger i’d make snowballs out of the 3-5 inches of snow i see a year.
    but meatballs… seems like it would take longer to wash than it would to make meatballs with your hands

  17. posted by Meg on

    !!! I’ve been looking for one of these! My husband ended up getting a melon baller to use instead, but it doesn’t quite do the job.

    We have a great recipe for vegan “cheezy sausage meat balls” and we like to hand them out because they are so popular with meat eaters — a real eye opener. They’re perfect for vegan food sampling events or parties. But rolling hundreds by hand? Ugh. What a pain!

    I bet they’d be great for making all sorts of chocolate truffles, too. Chocolate covered cookie dough balls, perhaps?

  18. posted by Chaotic on

    As a newby to this site I’ve found lots of useful info and ideas here but my favourite section is Unitasker Wednesday. Brilliant! I spent the other night going over old Unitasker posts having a laugh but, sadly, it made me realise that I too am guilty of purchasing unitaskers that now clutter my kitchen utility drawer. A serious purge is imminent.

    Thank you Unclutterer. Keep up the good work.

  19. posted by Pam on

    If you follow the link to buy the thing, under the “frequently bought together,’ there is yet another meatballer to buy WITH this one. LOL Apparently, the only thing better than owning one unitasker meatballer is owning TWO of them, each of a different diameter.

    Because making a 1-1/4″ meatball versus a 1-3/4″ meatball could not be accomplished without two separate meatballers.

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  20. posted by Violet on

    But on Amazon’s website it is listed as a meatballer, melon baller AND cookie baller…I don’t think that knocking off some of its uses just so you can poke fun at a product that actually is pretty useful qualifies. Sorry, just sayin’! If you want to take it to the Nth degree…why not just use sticks or hands to do everything in your kitchen?!

  21. posted by Jen on

    People like Violet are my favorite part of Unitasker Wednesdays.

  22. posted by Gina on

    Hilarious! I love the unitasker postings, but I also enjoy reading the comments every time. It is also a lot of fun to check @amazon what they say people buy together. Who has kitchens that big to store all these unitaskers? Actually, it dawned on me now that in the past using my hands to make meatballs was all wrong…. since people love perfection, meatballs should just be all identical! Why shape them by hand with tiny variances in form and size when you make them from scratch? Keep up the great work on this site, Erin!

  23. posted by Cindy on

    Regarding using this thing for snowballs: I just thought I’d point out, there is a plastic one, rather larger, featured every winter in a well-known, inexpensive catalog, that is actually made for snowballing. It comes with a mold for making perfectly shaped snow blocks for building defensive snowforts in snowball fights. You can also buy a smaller plastic one for playdough.

    Seems a little meticulous to me — kids are even less patient with gadgets than adults are.

  24. posted by Abby on

    “Is your meatballer greased? Would you like us to assign someone to grease your meatballer?”
    -Mean Girls, Unitasker Edition

  25. posted by H20 on

    Oh , i always buy frozen meatballs hehe

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