Unitasker Wednesday: Meatball Grill Basket

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes โ€” we donโ€™t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

When I think about cooking out on the grill, I think about hotdogs, hamburgers, steak, corn, asparagus, kebobs, bratwursts, and peaches (mmmmm, grilled peaches). Want to know what I don’t think about? Meatballs.

Williams-Sonoma has once again created a solution (the Meatball Grill Basket) for a problem that doesn’t exist. People the world over were just fine cooking their meatballs on the stove or in the oven. No one was crying late at night, gnashing their teeth, wishing that someone, somewhere would create a giant contraption for the specific purpose of grilling meatballs.

But now, NOW!, you can drop $50 for this item that you have no use for owning. Honestly, if you really wanted to grill meatballs (and again, why would you?) all you have to do is add a bit of egg to your meatball mixture and you can set meatballs directly onto the grill grates, same as a hamburger. If you want meatballs smaller than your grill grates, simply set a metal cooling rack (make sure it’s just plain metal) onto your grill grates and then cook your meatballs on the smaller-grated cooling rack. (It will look kind of like this.) A metal cooling rack has a dozen purposes and costs less than $7.

Wow, I wonder how many of these Meatball Grill Baskets Williams-Sonoma is going to sell?? Unbelievable.

55 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: Meatball Grill Basket”

  1. posted by Beavis on

    This is AWESOME! One area that always gets me is this: if it is for the grill – FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! – it rocks!

  2. posted by Not that Matt, the other one on

    I’d rather gargle with bleach than try cleaning that thing. All those little holes will become clogged with lovely meat particles and fat. Wonderfully awful.

  3. posted by Anita on

    Actually, where I’m from (Romania, in case you’re wondering), the biggest grilling tradition involves small elongated “patties” (about the size of a guy’s finger, let’s say) of a meatball-like consistency. So yes, there are plenty of people out there grilling these things, or things like them. North American folks may not have necessarily heard of them, but I think that’s their shortcoming (lack of knowledge) rather than a shortcoming of our culinary traditon.

    That being said, I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard of such a “meatball-grilling” device before. To me, it would be pretty useless. Then again, if you insist on having perfectly round meatballs, and not having them (gasp!) roll around freely on your grill… who am I to judge? ๐Ÿ˜›

  4. posted by Rue on

    Why not try cooking them on a skewer? Lol.

  5. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Rue — SKEWERS!! Brilliant!! A pack of 10 metal skewers is even less than $50!!

  6. posted by Miracle Maxine on

    @Erin – plus, skewers are multitaskers. For example, you could use one to clean all the teeny little holes in the meatball-griller contraption. Or you can stick them in a voodoo doll of the inventor of the ice-cream-cone-turner.

  7. posted by L. on

    Using the Williams-Sonoma catalog to find unitaskers is like cheating. They’ve cornered the market.

  8. posted by L. on


    I’m also Romanian and was also thinking about mititei. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. posted by Cesta para asar albรณndigas en la barbacoa on

    […] en: Untasker. […]

  10. posted by Miss C on

    Maybe I’m just really hungry, but grilled meatballs sound excellent.

  11. posted by Jane on

    I don’t have a grill. But I saw this and said wow this will make my meatballs round! I can’t seem to make round meat balls no matter what I do and I have been trying for years. It bothers me! I could use this in the oven to cook the outside of the meat ball before dropping them into my sauce for another 90 minutes of cooking. But then I read the comment about cleaning this device and Matt is probably right. Also I would probably need many of them since I make about 1.5 lbs of meatballs at once. That would be very expensive. Oh well.

  12. posted by Krys Slovacek on

    So, someone at Williams Sonoma thought, hey, I like to shape ground meat and grill it! And they didn’t think of creating a burger patty. They thought about MEATBALLS. Talk about doing everything the HARD WAY.

    Thanks, Erin for the laugh!!

  13. posted by Yolanda on

    Because I was intrigued I just googled “grilled meatball recipes,” and what do you know? Yes, many recipes exist. Each one calls for placing the meatballs on a skewer. No $50 contraption is needed, garnering “rave” reviews like, “They take longer to cook and clean up is impossible.”

  14. posted by anonymous on

    “Why not try cooking them on a skewer?”

    Because you might poke your eye out!

  15. posted by Lynette on

    How absolutely short-sided of you! You can make crab cake balls in that contraption too! ๐Ÿ˜‰ What they *are* missing is a dish that allows you to display and serve grilled meatballs individually on a dish like deviled eggs. Williams-Sonoma, if you are reading this, I take full credit for the meatball display dish.

  16. posted by Celeste on

    It seems like the ground meat mix wouldn’t stay on the skewer as well. I think I like the mesh screen better, but I would probably flatten the meatballs so nothing rolls off. Part of me is thinking grilled meatballs are really going to taste a LOT better than baked meatballs. Very tempting idea, actually. The Williams-Sonoma gizmo looks like it would work…but IMO it’s too much money to risk. With the meatball being completely surrounded by metal I have this idea that the crust won’t be as good.

    Cooks Illustrated had a great article on backyard burgers for children, since you really want their ground beef cooked thoroughly because they are more likely to die of an e. Coli infection than an adult would be. They suggest making a panade, a mix of egg and breadcrumbs, and mixing it into the ground beef (exactly analagous to making meatloaf–using just egg doesn’t retain as much tenderness) to be able to cook the burgers past the point of any pinkness without turning them into leather.

  17. posted by DJ on

    Williams-Sonoma is the undisputed king of unitaskers, in my opinion. My personal favorite is their huge linen press. The perfect addition to any laundry room larger than most people’s living rooms.

    But I see that Cuisinart makes a Vertical Rotisserie for roasting a single chicken. Because roasting one in a pan in the oven would just be crazy.

  18. posted by Molly on

    Or…. aluminum foil?

  19. posted by STL Mom on

    If I lined each little round indentation with foil, maybe I could use this to make Pancake Puffs on the grill.

  20. posted by Mark on

    This is pretty cool – I can totally imagine using this. Helps to keep meatballs from sticking to the grill/deforming/coming apart… I do admit that it might be a pain to clean, though…

  21. posted by Melissa on

    The more I see of Williams Sonoma, the more I have to laugh at them. We got a $40 giftcard there when we were married and what we learned is that if you take only $40 to a Williams Sonoma store, the employees are more or less contractually obligated to spit in your face! We had to choose whether to spend a ton of our own money or to try to look for a miraculous combination of items that could be had for the face value of our gift card.

    That’s the story of how I got my first (and last!) $16 whisk!

  22. posted by stefanie on

    it looks like a whole bunch of loose-leaf tea balls stuck together – if someone really wanted to grill a meatball like this, they could invest in a $2 tea ball!

  23. posted by Caroline on

    At first I saw this and thought of the possibilities for cooking meatballs over an open fire whilst camping (which we do already, its a perrenial favorite, we do ’em in pans or on skewers YUM). But then I realized that it would be tough to clean, get stained pretty quick by the fire, and really, a cast iron pan works just as well with much more versatility and durability.

  24. posted by Celeste on

    @Molly: my feeling is that burgers on the grill on foil don’t have any of the grilled taste from the fire or the smoke. They don’t develop a nice crust on them and seem kind of greasy. But the foil does keep the grill cleaner.

  25. posted by Gabriel on

    You’d have to be very careful to get ground beef that thick to cook all the way through. I think most people would end up with a crusty ball filled with raw hamburger.

  26. posted by luxcat on

    OK… I live in California and we grill our dinner about 4x a week all year round.. it’s tasty, healthy, and minimal cleanup. I admit that I would actually try this beast of a thing if it were a more affordable price… like under $10, which is what it’s really worth.

    I like the skewer idea, but the moment you don’t get one of your meataball or kebab mixes just right and the meat crumbles off (or if you are using turkey, which is also crumbly) your dinner would fall down between the grills and be gone ๐Ÿ™ I suppose you could solve that with foil and some olive oil but heck… by the time I’ve done and cleaned up all that… might as well just fry ’em in a skillet the way I always have…

  27. posted by Olga on

    This is the greatest passive aggressive shower/wedding gift idea I’ve ever seen.

  28. posted by Kathryn on

    Well, you could also use it as a giant tea diffuser for your big grill-ready cast iron square teapot.


  29. posted by Donna on

    Yeah, I had already spotted this one. Williams-Sonoma’s catalog has all kinds of “must-own” grilling accouterments.

  30. posted by ru kidding on

    FINALLY, a quality Unitasker post…

    A product that solves a problem that doesn’t exist.

    Good post.

  31. posted by Dawn on

    I wonder if this thing is what golf ball companies use to make golf balls in. LOL!

  32. posted by Kalani on

    Unitasker? Really? But you could use it to mass-produce snowballs and you wouldn’t need that snowball maker. And you could use it to make…. really big cookies. That are spherical. And balls of rice for your sushi dinners!

  33. posted by Jessica on

    Grilled… peaches? Wow, after a quick Google search, that actually does sound really yummy. Interesting…

  34. posted by Ange on

    I agree w/L – poaching from the ultimate unitasking WS is cheating! ๐Ÿ™‚ That said, this non-unitasker is actually intrigued by the idea of grilled meatballs. That sounds seriously cool. Thanks to whoever mentioned using skewers! I’ve only bought one thing there, during a visit with a wealthy relative who stocks her kitchen from WS: a rather nice set of linen dish towels, marked down 75%. Overall, a better price and quality than Target, albeit @ 75% off.

  35. posted by Elizabeth on

    I feel as if I am (not) missing out on heaps by living elsewhere than the Land of Williams-Sonoma. Be that as it may, the picture looks like the work of a food stylist not a cook. In order for hamburgers, rissoles, meatballs – whatever – to go brown as shown in the photo, they need to be in direct contact with the pan/hotplate/grill. This unitasker looks as if it was steaming rather than grilling the meat: you’d eat something greybrown and without any delicious slightly overdone crunchy bits. If you want grilled meatballs you might be much happier using an egg to bind the mince and a skewer to stop them rolling about (do they do that anyway? why not just plop them straight onto the grill?)

  36. posted by Lisa on

    I saw this in the WS window display this weekend and my first thought was “UNITASKER!!”. Now I’m thinking like this blog….

  37. posted by Mary on

    I’ve given up on round meatballs. In one of Pam Anderson’s Perfect Recipe books, she suggests making cylindrical ones, using a straight sided coffee scoop as a mold. You can then cook them in a skillet, flipping once, or in the oven. They cook much more easily.

    You do have to clean the coffee scoop, but that’s not so bad.

    I must say that I understand some of the Williams-Sonoma stuff, sort of expensive short cuts. My friends and family tends to share those around for holiday events and big parties. My mom has the large coffee urn. My cousin has a couple of kid’s fancy cake pans. These things only really make sense if multiple families are using them.

  38. posted by timgray on

    I’m all for food safety, but please dont go overboard. A slightly pink burger tastes far-far better than the completely brown hockypuck we all have scared ourselves into believing is safe. But then that’s if you are using a good cut of meat instead of the low grade stuff they grind at the supermarket. Yes your ground sirloin is low grade, compared to having them grind you a steak into burger.

    Finally, if everyone thinks grilled peaches sounds good, next time the grill is fired up, grill some strawberries. Lots of fruits take to grilling very well.

  39. posted by Helvetica vs. Times » The Meatball Grill Basket Changes Everything: on

    […] Indeed, meatball subs and spaghetti can now enjoy that smokey grilled flavor we all know and love with this innovative basket. It keeps your balls safe and secure while being cooked over the flames. If you think about it, there is probably a bunch of other stuff you could grill in one of these things as well. [Williams-Sonoma via Unclutterer] […]

  40. posted by We R Pirates » Blog Archive » The Meatball Grill Basket Changes Everything [Grilling] on

    […] Indeed, meatball subs and spaghetti can now enjoy that smokey grilled flavor we all know and love with this innovative basket. It keeps your balls safe and secure while being cooked over the flames. If you think about it, there is probably a bunch of other stuff you could grill in one of these things as well. [Williams-Sonoma via Unclutterer] […]

  41. posted by The Meatball Grill Basket Changes Everything | Gizmodo Australia on

    […] a bunch of other stuff you could grill in one of these things as well. [Williams-Sonoma via Unclutterer] Tagged:bbqfoodgadgetsgrillgrillingmeatball grill […]

  42. posted by The Meatball Grill Basket Changes Everything [Grilling] | dv8-designs on

    […] Indeed, meatball subs and spaghetti can now enjoy that smokey grilled flavor we all know and love with this innovative basket. It keeps your balls safe and secure while being cooked over the flames. If you think about it, there is probably a bunch of other stuff you could grill in one of these things as well. [Williams-Sonoma via Unclutterer] […]

  43. posted by The Meatball Grill Basket Changes Everything [Grilling] | HyipLife.com on

    […] Indeed, meatball subs and spaghetti can now enjoy that smokey grilled flavor we all know and love with this innovative basket. It keeps your balls safe and secure while being cooked over the flames. If you think about it, there is probably a bunch of other stuff you could grill in one of these things as well. [Williams-Sonoma via Unclutterer] […]

  44. posted by china wholesale, china eletronics wholesale, china cctv wholesale and dropship in china . | News and Articles - Chinawholesaleonline on

    […] Indeed, meatball subs and spaghetti can now enjoy that smokey grilled flavor we all know and love with this innovative basket. It keeps your balls safe and secure while being cooked over the flames. If you think about it, there is probably a bunch of other stuff you could grill in one of these things as well. [Williams-Sonoma via Unclutterer] […]

  45. posted by Karyn on

    Some of us like snark. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Granted, a Snape fan defending snark is like going to Williams-Sonoma in search of Unitaskers… but maybe the people who don’t like the Unitasker posts could just skip over them, just like I skip over posts that don’t relate to my particular organizing and uncluttering needs.

    As far as the meatball-griller thingy goes: Well, I don’t make meatballs, and I don’t grill, so on those counts alone it would be useless to me. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Apart from that, I think the concern about cooking round balls vs. flat patties is the most relevant. Most people inviting friends over for BBQ don’t want to send them home with food poisoning; it makes more sense to choose food that will cook properly on a grill rather than something that is difficult to cook all the way through without creating a tooth-cracking layer of carbon on the outside. Then again, some people like that tooth-cracking layer of carbon, so who am I to judge? ๐Ÿ˜€

  46. posted by Peter (one of many ; ) on

    As a vegetarian, I find this even more useless than many posters.

    I’m sure, many will buy this and it will sit in the cupboard unused for years and finally sold at a yard sale for $2.00.

  47. posted by Erin Doland on

    If you have use for an item, it’s not a unitasker:


  48. posted by KurtMac on

    Wow, this thing has got a mind of its own. I recently saw it reposted on Gizmodo and now on Uncrate: http://www.uncrate.com/men/gea.....ll-basket/

    Funny thing is, the further this ball griller gets relinked and reposted throughout the blogosphere, the further away it changes from “silly unitasker nobody needs” to “this is cool you need to buy this” the posts have become.

  49. posted by Amy on

    I’d also be afraid that when one tried to pry the meatball out, it would rip in half.

  50. posted by Karyn on

    Oh, hey, I was putting shopback away at work the other night (I work in a grocery store) and I saw a variety of grill screens that would work well for things like meatballs and other small objects. And they were only $1.49 each, and could probably hold more than a dozen. FYI, in case anyone RLY RLY wants to cook meatballs on a grill. ๐Ÿ˜€

  51. posted by kendra on

    hilarious, this was just featured on today’s daily candy weekend guide.

  52. posted by Sally on

    My family loves meatballs, but I find it difficult to cook them in a pan, for the simple reason that round objects don’t cook evenly on a flat surface. So when I saw this tool in the Williams Sonoma catalog, I decided to get one.

    Good thing I went to the shop to check it out, rather than ordering it online. The handle is not heat-proof, so it needs to be detached for grilling. My grill basket is the same way and works just fine, but in the case of the meatball griller, the handle is very difficult to detach and reattach. Essentially, you need to force a metal clip to open, and as tricky and that might be while putting the gadget on a hot fire, reattaching something metal that has been sitting over the flames would be virtually impossible. Moreover, you also need to reattach the handle to turn the meatballs over, or else they would fall out, as the handle is what keeps the gizmo closed.

    I left the store empty-handed and disappointed.

    Maybe some day someone will invent a tool, sort of like a waffle maker, that will heat the meatball on all its surfaces at once. I’d buy a dozen and give them to my friends.

  53. posted by Bert Sackman on

    I don’t get it. So what if it’s a unitasker! It works for those people who want the smokey and round meatballs. If you don’t like unitaskers, then don’t drive to work. And don’t use that refrigerator. Most certainly, you shouldn’t grill a steak or some burgers on that unitasking Weber. By the way, try peeling an apple with your chef’s knife or mincing onions or slicing a roast beef for a sandwich with a paring knife. Those knives are unitaskers. Better not fly off on a vacation on one of those unitaskers. I’ve used the meatball griller. It does a samn good job, and not just for meatballs either. You can make a hell of a falafel as well as salmon burgers that don’t fall apart on the grill because you didn’t load it up with eggs to bind it. If we drop all our unitaskers, we’ll have to give up our wrist watches, calculators and TV sets. Chuck Williams started out with a damn good idea importing fine knives from Europe and selling them in his shop, Williams Sonoma. He, or his staff, saw a good thing and so he is marketing the meatball griller. It costs too much? So, make a competitive product, manufacture it and market it for less. First of a kind products always are expensive. If you can do it better, great! You make money and we all benefit.

  54. posted by The Farmer’s Market – spending less vs. spending well - We live here now. on

    […] be more likely to tell yourself, “I can’t afford this Meatball Grill Basket (thanks, Unclutterer.com!) because I know I spend a little more than the average person on good cheese every […]

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