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chef trevor bird meatball sub sandwich recipe

Chef Trevor Bird's Best Meatball Sub Recipe

Try this satisfying showstopper meatball sub sandwich for a casual Sunday dinner this weekend. It is courtesy of Chef Trevor Bird, who cooked his way into our hearts on Top Chef Canada Season 2, finished in runner-up position, and invented his restaurant concept Fable (farm-to-table) during one of the intense challenges. Trevor loves honest, flavoursome cuisine, and his packed Kitsilano restaurant is a mecca for locally sourced, truly delicious real food. He also loves this meatball recipe - you’ll look like a pro chef by serving it.

Tomato Sauce


1 28 ounce can tomatoes, pureed
5 bay leaves
3 onions, finely chopped
1 head garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
5 tbsp olive oil
1/2 bunch oregano, chopped
20 basil leaves, torn
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp anise seed
1 bulb fennel, finely chopped
  salt to taste


  1. In a heavy medium-sized saucepan, heat the olice oil and sweat the onions, garlic, and fennel until soft and lightly coloured.
  2. Add red wine, cook down to dry.
  3. Add tomatoes, bay leaves, sugar, oregano, anise seed, and salt to taste, and cook for about half hour over low heat (do not add basil yet).
  4. Cook for about half hour and season to taste, add torn basil leaves at the end.

Meatball Sub Sandwich


1 kg lean ground pork (or pork shoulder if you want to grind your own)
150 ml milk
100 grams panko (just under a cup) (Japanese bread crumbs)
3 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
onion, cut into small dice
 2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
 2 tbsp anise seed, toasted ground
 2 tbsp dry mustard
 3 tsp salt


  1. Sauté the chopped onion in a little olive oil until soft and lightly coloured, allow to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground pork and the cooled onion and mix together very well (or grind all ingredients together if you have a meat grinder).
  3. Mix the milk and panko and allow to sit until it is a paste.
  4. Add the panko mixture, spices and seasonings to the pork and onion and mix with your hands or a large wooden spoon for several minutes until all seasonings are evenly distributed.
  5. With your hands, form into meatballs roughly 2 inches in diameter.
  6. Brown meatballs in a pre -heated 450 F oven for 10 minutes and then place in tomato sauce and cook for 30 minutes.
  7. Grate an aged cheddar over top (as much as you like), and broil in the oven, finish with chopped parsley, chives, oregano.
  8. Slice open baguette, submarine, hoagie rolls or Portugese buns and place several meatballs in each, along with a generous dollop of the tomato sauce.

DJ's Wine Pairings

Image via Jessica Spengler, CC BY 2.0.

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