Win Schuler’s Meatballs

This is the original recipe I use to enjoy at the Win Schuler Restaurant in Ann Arbor until they closed. I worked nearby as a librarian for a Federal agency and we frequently went there for lunch,” happy hour” and sometimes dinner.  They do still have their original restaurant in Marshall, Michigan which is not too far from me.   Some time ago my local paper answered questions from subscribers about certain recipes from various restaurants throughout the area and this was one of those recipes that I liked to make especially after the restaurant closed. Another popular  recipe was Win Schuler’s Onion Soup which I have already posted and is very good, but rich!

Then in 2004 Win Schuler’s owners, Jonathan and Hans Schuler,  published their own cookbook, “Schuler’s: Fresh Recipes & Warm Memories”.  I just now compared the recipe I have had for a long time and the one from the cookbook  are very different.    The other one is Win Schuler’s Meatballs with a Barbecue Sauce which I will post later.

I was curious about the history of meatballs and so I looked online and I was very surprised at the results.  Meatballs have been around a long time dating back to Roman times and have varied through the years to accommodate different tastes, available ingredients and even religious traditions.  There are many nations and cultures who have their own version of meatballs. Many  are fried; some are baked, grilled,  boiled or steamed; some are put in soups; some are served in many different sauces such as a tomato, cream or even a caper sauce.  Various meats such as pork, beef, and even fish are used, and of course veggies.  If you want more information go to Wikipedia for a detailed article.  Now, my American meatballs are varied; search meatballs on my site and you will find many recipes, ranging from a tomato sauce with pasta, Weight Watcher’s recipe in a slow cooker, meatball sandwich and this yummy appetizer.

Meatballs for me are always a simple do-ahead party appetizer.  They are time consuming to make but you can make these ahead of time and freeze them.  As I mentioned before we use to do a fair amount of entertaining and this was frequently on my list to make.  As I am participating in another Fiesta Friday party over at The Novice Gardener this is my party-fare contribution to Angie’s weekly celebration.

I cut the recipe in half as it makes a huge amount.  I made 45 meatballs the size of a golf ball as you can see in the picture below.  Line a baking sheet with foil, place a rack on top of the foil, spray the rack with nonstick spray and place the meatballs on top.  The pictures show uniform meatballs that were cooked on the rack and  meatballs that kind of burned and wound up being flat on two sides that I cooked in a foil pan.  My advice, use a rack if you bake them as the meatballs stay nice and round and cook evenly.

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Win Schuler's Meatballs with a Sweet and Sour Sauce


  • 3 lbs. ground chuck or ground round
  • 2 envelopes Mrs. Grass dry onion soup mix (I use low sodium)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (I use low sugar)
  • 1/2 cup sweet relish
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt (I use garlic powder)
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 6 cups Progresso plain breadcrumbs (I use only 5-1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tsp. A1 steak sauce (I read recently that Heinz 57 was rated #1  by America’s Test Kitchen)
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
  • 4 eggs, beaten well
  • 1 (13 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar

Combine all of the above ingredients and mix well.  Form into balls; if you are using them as an appetizer, make them the size of a walnut; if you are using them to go over noodles, make them the size of a golf ball.  Bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 10 minutes, turn them over and rotate the pan to help with even browning and bake 10 minutes longer.

While the meatballs are baking, make the following sauce:


  • 1 cup Open Pit barbecue sauce (onion)
  • 3-1/2 cups canned tomatoes, undrained and combine in a blender (remove the seeds if desired)
  • 1 cup strawberry jelly
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce
  • 3 tbsp. molasses
  • tomato juice, just enough to cover the meatballs (I used 1-1/2 cups but if you make the full recipe you will probably need 3 cups)

Combine the above ingredients in a large Dutch oven and heat;  add the meatballs totally submerging them.  Add more juice/water if needed.  Bake at 350°F for 1 hour, covered.

Recipe by  

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35 thoughts on “Win Schuler’s Meatballs

  1. I had no idea that meatballs have been around for so long! These meatballs look delicious by the way. Happy Friday!


  2. Okay, now it’s my turn to say “I used to go there all the time!” LOVED Win Schuler’s. My family used to go to the location in Rochester and my husband frequented the Marshall locale when he was a student at Albion. To this day, there is always a container of their bar cheese in our fridge. I’m so excited to have this recipe now…thank you for sharing it with us all!


    • Ha! Ha! The bar chips or “Bar Schips” to go with that yummy cheese spread are so good too! I am so glad you can buy both items at stores. There is a recipe but that is something I do not need to make as I can buy it 🙂 Happy Fiesta Friday Nancy and congrats on co-hosting 🙂


      • Yes! I love the Bar Schips with spinach dip too for some reason!
        Thanks Judi – Happy Fiesta Friday to you too 🙂


  3. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #12 | The Novice Gardener

  4. Oh wow! I love meatballs… and reading the ingredients of your recipe I’m sure that they were amazing! I’ve never thought to use evaporated milk and Worcester sauce! thanks for sharing!


  5. Hi Judi! I love meatballs and haven’t thought to look up its history until you pointed it out here. Roman times, huh? I guess they knew good food! I have yet to try sweet and sour meatballs and your photos had me jumping out of my seat. Ask my husband how much I love meatballs and he will say I love them more than him. 🙂 I’m saving this recipe for my next meatball adventure!


      • Oh, Judi. I am so bad. I saw your post a few hours ago and couldn’t get meatballs out of my head so I just ran to the deli and got a half meatball sandwich. It’s really good, but probably doesn’t compare to yours. It will tie me over until I can look at all your meatball recipes and make some myself.


    • Thanks Julianna – the other ingredients overpower the jelly which just adds some sweetness to the sauce – no strawberry taste. Very good and a great recipe from one of our better restaurants during its time. This and the bar cheese that Nancy mentioned were popular “happy hour” treats 🙂


  6. We used to go to Win Schulers when I was a kid. I may have to give these a try and bring back the memories!


    • The recipe makes a bunch – I bet your boys would have fun forming them but then you would have to put the small meatballs together, medium sized and large and cook accordingly. I can remember when the kids helped me make things – I some times never knew how a recipe would turn out 🙂


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