Big Ang says her meatballs are second to none, and she’s prepared to prove it.
The “Mob Wives” star is competing in a cookoff on Staten Island Sunday — facing off against other reality show stars from the borough.
“Some people think I make the best meatballs in the world,” boasts Big Ang, whose full name is Angela Raiola. “I can’t give you my secret, but I will say that making great meatballs is all about the mushing and the squeezing.”
The first ever “Reality All-Star Meatball Challenge” goes down at noon at Docks Clam Bar in the neighborhood of Richmond Valley. It’s sure to be a fierce competition, but Big Ang doesn’t seem worried that she’ll walk away with anything less than ground beef glory.
“I always use wet bread,” she says, revealing just a small taste of her meatball-making secrets. “A lot of people use bread crumbs. But I take stale Italian bread and soak it in milk or hot water.”
Ang, 54, is also busy filming season five of “Mob Wives,” premiering in December on VH1, in between bartending at her cousin’s Staten Island bar, the Drunken Monkey.
Although Docks is called a clam bar, the restaurant is famous around Staten Island for its meatballs. All of the TV stars competing Sunday are regulars at the restaurant, and no strangers to the appeal of this timeless Italian delicacy.
Among Ang’s competitors are Mario Gallucci, an attorney who starred on USA’s “Partners in Crime”; Derek Tabacco, who was looking for love on Bravo’s “Millionaire Matchmaker”; and Nikki Galarza and her daughter Lorri Tierney, who run a kids’ talent agency out of their Staten Island home that was filmed for TVGN’s “Mother of All Talent.”
“I understand Big Ang makes a good meatball,” admits Galarza, who, like Big Ang, is keeping her own recipe close to her chest. “I’m just doing something similar to what my mother did. I’ll get five pounds of chopped meat and take it from there.”
Docks is providing all the contestants with meat and seasonings. A panel of eight judges — most of them in the culinary business, like food truck owners — will evaluate the savory spheres without knowing whose meatballs they’re tasting. They’ll be judging on taste and texture, but not appearance.
Customers who make it into the sold-out event will also get to participate, judging the “People’s Choice” award. Winners will take home a trophy and endless bragging rights.
Docks owner Kim Leo, whose family opened the restaurant almost 40 years ago, said that most of the competitors will use the exact same ingredients, with the exception of one reality star (she won’t say which), who’s going for a radically nontraditional meatball.
“Someone is doing a meatball without chopped meat in it,” Leo says. “So I need to go out and stock our kitchen with stuffing.”
Leo adds that the meatball champion will be determined by one thing: “It’s all in the way you mix.”
You should know: The Reality All-Star Meatball Challenge begins this Sunday at noon at Docks Clam Bar. Reservations are already full, but meatball lovers can see if any spots have opened up by calling (718) 227-8500.
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