RECIPE: Learn to make Firepit Pizza Tavern’s Meatball Pizza

Meatball Pizza from Firepit Pizza Tavern / Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Is it crazy to be a fan of meatball pizza? If so, call me crazy. Love the meatball pizza at Firepit Pizza. Will they share the recipe? — Gabi King, Atlanta

Firepit Pizza Tavern is known for its brick oven pizza, and chef Shaun Whitmer was happy to share the recipe for the restaurant’s meatballs, and the meatball pizza our reader craves.

Note that these are truly giant meatballs, almost a quarter pound each. It only takes two to top a pizza, but we bet you’ll find plenty of other ways to enjoy the remaining meatballs. Refrigerated pizza dough is now widely available at many grocers.

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Meatball Pizza from Firepit Pizza Tavern. Chris Hunt/For The AJC

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Firepit Pizza Tavern’s Meatball Pizza
  • 13-ounce ball pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup red sauce (your favorite)
  • 1/4 fresh spinach leaves, stems removed
  • 3 ounces shredded mozzarella
  • 2 Meatballs (see recipe), crumbled
  • 1/4 red onion, cut into slivers
  • 1 fresh mozzarella ovalini
  • Heat oven and pizza stone to 425 degrees.
  • On a lightly floured work surface, stretch pizza dough to a 12-inch circle. Top with red sauce leaving a 1/4-inch border around the pizza. Top sauce with spinach leaves. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Top with meatballs and red onion. Move pizza to baking stone and bake 10 to 12 minutes or until crust is cooked to your preference. The restaurant prefers the crust to be very crisp and brown. Remove from oven, let rest a minute, tear ovalini into pieces and scatter on pizza, then cut into 8 pieces. Makes: 8 slices.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per slice: 246 calories (percent of calories from fat, 37), 14 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 10 grams total fat (5 grams saturated), 48 milligrams cholesterol, 549 milligrams sodium.

Firepit Pizza Tavern’s Meatballs
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs or panko
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork or Italian sausage
  • Water
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a roasting pan.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs and buttermilk. Add onion, garlic, parsley, oregano and basil. Whisk together, then add salt and crushed red pepper and mix thoroughly. Fold in breadcrumbs and Parmesan, and let mixture sit 5 minutes to hydrate the breadcrumbs. Add the ground beef and ground pork and using your hands, mix until well blended. Do not overwork the mixture.
  • Using your hands, scoop out 3-ounce balls (about a heaping 1/3 cup), lightly roll to shape into balls and arrange in roasting pan. When all balls are formed, add enough water to come to 1/4-inch deep around the meatballs and cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake 45 minutes or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees. Uncover the pan and continue baking until the meatballs brown and the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, about 10 more minutes. Remove from oven, cool and use as pizza topping, serve over pasta or just enjoy by themselves. Makes: 12 meatballs.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per meatball: 181 calories (percent of calories from fat, 46), 15 grams protein, 9 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 9 grams total fat (3 grams saturated), 101 milligrams cholesterol, 644 milligrams sodium.

From the menu...Firepit Pizza Tavern, 509 Memorial Drive SE, Atlanta. 404-495-4777,

Is there a recipe from a metro Atlanta restaurant you’d like to make at home? Tell us and we’ll try to get it. We’ll also test it and adapt it for the home kitchen. Because of volume, we can’t answer all inquiries. Send your request, your address and phone number to and put “From the menu of” and the name of restaurant in the subject line.

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