Moose Meatballs with Low Bush Cranberries & Smoked Cabbage

Guest post by Ashley Rodriguez

I felt so honored and humbled while preparing this dish. I knew I wanted to make this dish incredibly special and I think we succeeded.

There are a few easy substitutes if you don’t happen to have a freezer filled with ground moose. That can easily be swapped for either ground beef or pork. For the low bush cranberries, feel free to use conventional cranberries (fresh or frozen). Adjust the sweetness to your taste.




  • 2 pounds moose meat (substitute ground beef or pork)
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, ground
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 piece bread, roughly chopped or torn
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 ½ cup cranberries
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ a head of Napa cabbage
  • Olive oil
  • Flake salt
  • ½ cup finely grated Pecorino
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian Parsley



In a large bowl combine the moose, onion, garlic, fennel, rosemary, bread, milk, eggs, salt, and pepper. Mix well to completely combine.

Set a large skillet directly over the coals or over a grill grate set over flames.

Sear a small piece of the mixture to check the seasoning. If you’re happy with the seasoning form the mixture into roughly 2 inch meatballs. Add to the skillet and sear on all sides. You want to get a good deep crust. The meatballs are tender so carefully move them around with tongs or a spatula. 



Once seared, add the cranberries directly to the pan along with the brown sugar, soy sauce, five spice, and vinegar. Add a pinch of salt as well. Let this gently simmer until the meatballs are cooked through and the cranberries have broken down. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as needed. 



Cut the cabbage in half and drizzle each piece with olive oil. Set over a hot grill and sear for two minutes, until the edges are charred but the interior is still crisp and fresh. Remove from the grill and set on a platter. Drizzle the wedges with red wine vinegar and finish with flake salt.

Add the meatballs and sauce to the platter and finish with flake salt, Pecorino, and parsley.


Photos courtesy of Ashley Rodriguez



For the story behind the recipe, watch the Alaska episodes of Ashley's web series, Kitchen Unnecessary

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