Ham Balls

By AllisonRobicelli
March 30, 2017
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Ham Balls

Author Notes: Ham balls are meatballs…..made of ham. I’ve made balls of beef, turkey, lamb, seitan, lentils—how had I never thought of ham? It’s so simple and so genius. The recipe is something that seems to be straight out of a World War II rationing cookbook, and was probably overlooked for decades because of hideous vintage food photography. But as I held this recipe—from Uncle Jim on my husband's side of the family over in Iowa—in my hands, I realized that I had found treasure, a priceless heirloom that had been tucked away in a dusty corner of the attic. If I brought these balls onto Antiques Roadshow, I’d make a bazillion dollars.

They are not just a dish—oh, no no no, ham balls are an event. You get all the people in your church together, everyone makes ham balls, and then you walk around the church basement sampling all of them. This isn’t just a quirky little recipe Matt “forgot” to mention. This is an integral pillar of Iowan society!

Makes: 24 meatballs

For the meat

  • 1 pound ground ham
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 sleeve crushed graham crackers
  • 1 egg

For the sauce

  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and have a 9x13 baking pan ready.
  2. Mix all ingredients for the meatballs well, using your hands, Form into balls using a 1/3 cup measure, and place on the pan.
  3. Stir sauce ingredients together well. Add or subtract from these ingredients to taste (I like it tangy). Pour sauce evenly over the ham balls and bake for 1 hour.

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