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My friends from Iowa have this delicacy called ham balls. It was literally an almost like a spiritual experience for me the first time I bit into a ham ball while visiting the fine folks at the National Pork Board. These things were so good. But when I looked into making them I literally was like these stores in Indiana don’t sell ham loaf. It took me a hot minute to figure out how to to make these ham balls. When I did they naturally became bourbon glazed ham balls.
Bourbon Glazed Ham Balls are a pork lovers dream with the combination of ground ham and ground pork. Then mixed along with onion, crackers, and egg combine with my pork seasoning and drenched in a sweet bourbon glaze for the best pork meatball around. You are going to want to try these ham balls!
Ham Balls Ingredients
When making ham balls the biggest obstacle is the ground ham. But I found the solution for those of us who do not live in pig loving Iowa. Ground pork can be found in the fresh pork section while ground ham can be found in the processed meat section. However, if you have a fresh ham in your pork section, ask the grocery store butcher to grind it for you. That would be the ideal situation. But these ground ham packages worked perfectly for me.
In addition to the meat, you will need dehydrated chopped onions, butter crackers like Club crackers, eggs, milk, and my pork seasoning salt. These ingredients combine easily just like any other meatball.
How to Make Ham Balls
Start by crushing the crackers. Place the ground pork and ham in a large bowl. Pour the crushed crackers, two eggs, milk, and pork seasoning salt over the meat. Then dig your hands into the ingredients to combine.
Bake the ham balls on 350 degrees for 45 minutes. While the ham balls are baking, prepare the bourbon glaze for the top of the ham balls.
The bourbon glaze is the sweet and smokey combination of bourbon, ketchup, brown sugar, and dried mustard.
In a saucepan over medium heat combine the ketchup, bourbon, brown sugar, and dry mustard. Stir as it comes to a simmer. Boil for one minute before removing from heat. Set aside until the ham balls are done.
Bourbon Glazed Ham Balls
When the ham balls are done, transfer them to the casserole crock pot. Pour the bourbon glaze over the meatballs. Just spread it out evenly all over all the ham balls. Don’t be afraid to stack those meatballs up either. The more gooey bourbon glaze all over the ham balls the better.
Tips for Making Bourbon Glazed Ham Balls
- Drain the liquid off the ground ham. This will help with the binding of the meatballs.
- The crackers don’t have to be finely ground. Just crush them up.
- Ham ball sizes can be whatever size you want. Consistent size is key for even baking.
- If you are eating immediately, just pour the bourbon glaze over the ham balls in the pans you baked them in.
- Don’t need this many ham balls, freeze one pan and bake it later.
Bourbon Glazed Ham Balls are a pork lovers dream with the combination of ground ham and ground pork along with onion, crackers, and egg combine with my pork seasoning and drenched in a sweet bourbon glaze for the best pork meatball around.
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2 pounds ground ham
- 1 sleeve butter crackers, crushed about 2 cups
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon pork seasoning salt
- 1 ½ cup ketchup
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup bourbon
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
Combine the pork, ham, crackers, eggs, milk, and pork seasoning salt in a bowl. Mix with your hands until just incorporated.
Form two-inch balls and place them in a pyrex 8x8 pan. You will be able to fill two pans.
Bake on 350° for 45-50 minutes.
In a saucepan stir together the ketchup, brown sugar, bourbon, and mustard.
Bring to a boil and simmer at the boil for one minute. Then remove from heat.
Pour the bourbon glaze over the cooked ham balls. If serving at a party, transfer to a casserole crock pot to keep warm.