Pancetta and Ground Beef Meatballs (Juicy and Tender)

These Pancetta and Ground Beef Meatballs are absolutely delicious and a snap to make. But before I get into the directions on how to make them, I want to share with you a Farm-to Table beef company I started doing business with. Welcome to The Decadent Keto Diet family, Independence Ark Farm!

How We Found Independence Ark Farm

A little over a year ago, my husband, who we lovingly call Mr. Fussy in this blog, decided he wanted to try the Carnivore Diet. One of his coworkers had tried the diet and lost a significant amount of weight and my husband wanted the same results. After doing some research we both realized he was already eating a Carnivore Diet about 80% of the time. His daily diet consisted of meat and eggs but it was the extra carbohydrates he was eating that caused his weight gain. If he was eating chicken it was fried, steak always came with a baked potato and his daily snack was a bag of cookies or chips out of a vending machine. Not good, right?

Carnivore looked like, if nothing else, an easy way to eat. It didn’t really fit in with my Keto way of eating, but I could see the benefits of eating even more high protein and almost zero carbs than I was currently eating. Fast-forward to now and my husband is a whopping 40 pounds less than he was in January of last year. And he loves his new way of eating.

The only downside for me, was I had to shop for the meat Mr. Fussy and I were eating which just happened to be mostly beef. Over the course of the last year we became more involved in trying to find good grass fed beef with no hormones or chemicals added to the cows diet. Through online influencers and fellow Carnivore Diet enthusiests, I learned more and more about Farm-to-Table eating and the Carnivore lifestyle. Although we tried to source meat locally, in some cases the cost was out of our reach, so we were limited to our local supermarkets, which wasn’t always a good solution to the problem.

Searching for a Good Source of Beef

Saturdays for me is usually spent on creating a new recipe, grocery shopping for meals for the week and basically running around town like a crazy woman. In our search for good, affordable beef I would end up going to three or maybe even four stores searching for good cuts at a reasonable price. Thankfully about two months ago I noticed a few Lifestyle and Carnivore influencers I follow on social media talking continually about Independence Ark farm. I checked their website out and after reading their story and speaking with the owners, I decided to place an order and try their meat. To say I was pleasantly surprised with the product and customer service is an understatement. Thankfully my journey for delicious, affordable beef was over! I have found my new go-to source of grass fed beef.

Who Is Independence Ark Farm?

The story of how Independence Ark farm came about is a true, American feel-good story. Like many of us who survived the pandemeic that swept the world in 2020, the Babac family found themselves faced with closed local businesses, a limited source of food due to supply chain shortages, and a growing frustration that led to the thought “there must be a better way of doing this”. With a young family to raise, they rolled the dice and decided to make a complete change to their lifestyle, which in my opinion took a lot of guts and courage.

After their offer on a 35 acre piece of land was accepted, they jumped in and started their own Homesteading Farm, lovingly called Independence Ark. The name of their farm has deep meaning behind it-Independence for their independent new lifestyle and Ark for building an “Ark of safety” around them and their business. It is a genious name and a wonderful business concept.

Independence Ark farm raises Black Angus grass fed cattle, egg laying hens and they plant a vast amount of heirloom seeds. This allows the family to be self-sufficient and also allows them to sell and share with the general public the products they lovingly raise and grow.

Their cattle are grass fed and steroid and hormone free. Their hens are 100% organic, GMO free and live a free range life. They have a variety of hens on the farm that lay quite a few different colored eggs. Along with laying eggs they have a few varieties that can be used as a food source. Independence Ark offers bundle packages and also A La Carte shopping. Their shipping is free (which is really nice nowadays) and the meat comes cold and well packaged. I placed my order on a Friday, it was shipped Monday and I recieved it Wednesday. The entire process was easy and painless and the meat is delicious. Follow my site for upcoming recipes using every cut of meat I ordered, and let me know if you have a recipe you would like to share with my followers. Or go to their site, to read more about their Farm-to-Table lifestyle. If you like supporting small businesses, if you are a believer in Farm-to-Table eating and if you want a good, affordable source of grass fed beef I would encourage you to give Independence Ark a try, you won’t be disappointed!

Ingredients in Pancetta Ground Beef Meatballs

Meatballs can be made in a variety of ways, and it seems as if everyone has their favorite recipe. Mine have actually evolved over the years and I believe I have finally made the perfect meatball. I like meatballs that can be cut with a fork, not ones you have to carve into with a knife. I like meatballs that are easy to cook and don’t require a lot of greasy, frying on the stove (although mine are initially browned in the frying pan then finished in the oven). I love meatballs that have a bite of fresh garlic in them and are filled with flavor in every bite.

The binder in meatballs is always individual preference. I have seen recipes with just about every type of binder going, but mine is a little different than the rest. Being on a Keto/Carnivore diet I have to stay away from bread (I miss you my friend, Mr. Rye Bread), so instead of bread crumbs I use Pork Rind Panko mixed with Half-n-Half. For those of you on strict Carnivore where you are not using dairy just remove the Half-n-Half, it will not effect the recipe. Of course the star of the show is the incredible 80/20 grass fed Ground Beef I got from Independence Ark farm and I was shocked at what a difference pure grass fed ground beef made to this recipe. Although the beef is 80/20, the meatballs weren’t bathing in grease like they would be with other brands of ground beef. I add-in 2 ounces (approximately 4 slices) of chopped Pancetta for a zip of flavor, chopped fresh Italian Parsley, an Egg, a variety of spices and Parmesian Cheese.

I like to make a baking dish filled with meatballs because these can be eaten for a variety of meals. I start by frying the meatballs for just a minute to help the meat bind together. Then I transfer them to a baking dish where I then add sauce and mozzarella cheese to the baking dish then let the meatballs finish cooking in the oven. You can eat them plain for dinner, munch on a few for a snack, pile them high on Carb-Free Pasta (It’s Skinny Pasta is my new favorite brand) or even eat a meatball sandwich made with an Italian flavored Chaffle. The choices are endless, and if you feel as if you are eating less Italian Food because of your Keto/Carnivore way of eating, I would recommend you try these out. You won’t be disappointed and your craving for Italian food will be satisfied. Enjoy!

Pancetta and Ground Beef Meatballs

Tender Grass Fed Beef is mixed with chopped pancetta, egg, half and half, pork rind panko, parsley and spices to make delicious and flavorful meatballs.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Fry meatballs prior to baking 10 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 18 Meatballs


  • 1.5 Lb Ground Beef
  • 2 Oz Sliced Pancetta Chop Fine
  • 1 Egg Beaten
  • ½ Cup Half and Half
  • 1 Cup Pork Rind Panko
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • ½ Bunch Italian Parsley Chopped Fine
  • ½ Cup Parmesian Cheese
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ tsp Black Pepper
  • 12 Ounces Pasta Sauce of your choice Approximately 1/2 a jar
  • 1 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a large bowl place the ground beef then add in the chopped pancetta.
  • Add to the meat mixture the well beaten egg, Italian seasoning, chopped parsley, chopped garlic, salt, pepper, and parmesian cheese.
  • In a separate bowl mix together the pork rind panko and half and half. Stir well-the mixture should be like a very loose paste.
  • Scrape the pork rind panko/half and half mixture into the ground beef, then with your hands mix everything together until well blended.
  • On your stove heat up a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. If you don't have a non-stick pan use a regular frying pan but oil the bottom first so the meatballs don't stick. Using a tablespoon, scoop out a full spoon size of meatball mixture, roll into a ball, then place in the frying pan. Once the pan is full of meatballs, using the spoon, continually turn the meatballs so they brown evenly on all sides. ** You do not need to cook the meatballs through-just brown them enough so they hold together.
  • When you are done browning the meatballs, place them in a 9" x 9" baking dish. Place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes to finish baking the meatballs.
  • Remove the meatballs from the oven then spoon pasta sauce of your choice on top. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese over the sauce. Return to the oven and heat until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted.
Keyword Ground beef, Half-n-Half, Meatballs, Pork Rind Panko

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