May 03 2013

Porcupine Meatballs

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porcupine meatballs over rice

I tried to research the origin of porcupine meatballs; however, the only information I could come up with was that they were made during the depression when you could stretch your beef by adding rice to it.  Supposedly, once they’re cooked the rice sticking out of the meatball resembles the quills of porcupines.  I think the fun name enticed children to eat them.

I recall my Mama making these for us when I was younger and I loved them. It seemed though that this recipe was put aside for quite a few years until one day I decided to make them for my Husband and I.  They turned out so good that I called my Mama and told her she needed to try them while they were hot. So Mr. Southern Heart and I packed them up along with extra rice and off to Mama and Daddy’s house (only a block away) we went.

It was so nice to see them enjoy them as much as we did. For some reason, once again this recipe has not graced our table in 5-6 years. It is such an easy, homey, comfort food that I vow to make sure we put this in our regular food rotation!

Porcupine Meatballs

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4-6 servings

Serving Size: 2 Meatballs

Porcupine Meatballs


  • 1½ lbs. ground beef
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ cups long grain instant white rice
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 64 ounces V8 vegetable juice


  1. In a large bowl combine ground beef, eggs, rice, worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, salt and pepper.
  2. Roll into 2-2½ inch balls (between a golf ball and a tennis ball size).
  3. While rolling into meatballs, add the V8 juice to a large deep covered fry pan and bring to a boil.
  4. Once the V8 juice is boiling and all meatballs are rolled, add the meatballs into the fry pan.
  5. Cover the fry pan and cook over medium-low heat at a simmer for approximately 45 minutes.
  6. Stir the meatballs and sauce occasionally.
  7. Skim the grease from the sauce with a flat spoon into another bowl to discard once cooled.
  8. Once the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has reduced and thickened, remove from the burner and serve over additional cooked rice or mashed potatoes.

It seems there are a few variations of what is used for the tomato sauce or gravy. Many recipes call for tomato sauce, some ask for tomato soup, but our recipe is made from V8 vegetable juice.

I hope you give these a try and hopefully it will spark a happy childhood memory of eating an oddly named meal.






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  1. nick daws

    YUMMY I loves those things.

  2. Elena

    Just wanted to say thanks for the follow on Pinterest; I’m following you back :o) Hope you are having a wonderful Tuesday!

    1. lynnssouthernheart

      Thanks for the follow back! Have a great week <3

  3. Shiloh Barkley

    Yeah, I was immediately thinking rice = filler. Rice, corn, pasta, potatoes…all great ways to stretch a meal, but they add more ass to my ass :/

    1. lynnssouthernheart

      Thanks Shiloh! I know what you mean about the fillers, but I think we can eat whatever we want as long as it’s not an every day choice but in moderation…I know that I need to be more mindful of what I am eating, but some days I just gotta have that comfort food I grew up on 😉 Take care!

  4. Margie

    I first ran across this recipe about forty years or so ago in a Presto cooker book. That’s the only way I’ve ever made it. My old Presto family gave out, so I haven’t fixed porcupine rice in a long time. Would like to try this recipe, but I’ll substitute soy crumbles for the hamburger meat.
    Thanks for posting.

    1. lynnssouthernheart

      Hi Margie! Thanks for replying! I Love those old cookbooks…I tend to snatch them up whenever I see them at yard sales or flea markets, they have the best recipes in them. I hope you have an occasion where you can make these again and enjoy them as much as you used to :)

  5. Rachel

    These were really good ….

    1. lynnssouthernheart

      Thanks so much Rachel, I am glad you liked them :)

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