Holiday Ham Balls
In Southern Iowa, Ham Balls are the thing. We serve them for Easter, Christmas, funeral dinners, church dinners, potlucks, and anything in between. It has come to my attention over the years, that some people have never heard of Ham Balls, and even worse…never tasted them! GASP! My husband hails from PA, and it was a foreign food to him, one that he has since gotten over and now gets just as excited as the little ones in the family when it is on the weekly menu plan.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, a friend asked if I would make them for her, but in an appetizer form to put in a slow cooker and serve as you would a meatball. What a smart cookie she is, so I have included instructions for the regular method as well as making them as an appetizer.
Lisa @ Onceamonthmom.com
- 1 1/2 pounds ground smoked ham **
- 1 1/2 ground pork (not sausage)**
- 1 pound ground beef
- 3 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 eggs
- 2 C milk
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 can ( 10.75 oz) tomato soup
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 6 Tbsp vinegar
**Note – our local grocer’s meat dept sells a Ham Loaf – which is the mix of the smoked ham and ground pork. If yours does as well – use 3 lbs of Ham Loaf Mix instead of the 1 1/2 lbs ground smoked ham and 1 1/2 lbs ground pork. Additionally, you can make your own ground smoked ham by using a Kitchen Aid grinding attachment or a food processor on pulse action, grinding up cooked ham, cured ham, leftover baked ham.
In a very large bowl or roasting pan, mix the ground beef, smoked ham, ground pork, graham cracker crumbs, eggs and milk. I like to use my hands to mix this (wearing disposable rubber gloves), and if so the eggs and milk will be very cold. Mix the ingredients until combined. Using a 1/2 cup measure, form 25 balls. Place in a large roasting pan. Whisk the topping ingredients together and pour over Ham Balls in pan. Bake 350 for 1 hour.
There are two different methods of freezing you can choose. I depends on how I plan to serve..if I am wanting to serve in different meals throughout the month, I typically use a freezer bag and take out the desired amount, place in a baking dish and bake. If I am serving a large meal, I will freeze in a foil pan.
- Flash freeze formed balls on a cookie sheet until hard. Place in a freezer bag. Place a freezer bag of the topping mix in with it as well. (Can divide topping into 2 bags for smaller serving). To serve: Place desired number of Ham Balls into baking dish and thaw in fridge. Before baking, pour thawed topping over Ham Balls. Bake 350 for 1 hour.
- Place formed balls into a large foil (a 9X13 won’t be enough), or 2 smaller foil pans. Pour topping over ham balls. Cover with aluminum foil and freeze. To Serve: Thaw. Bake 350 for 1 hour.
For Appetizer Ham Balls:
In a very large bowl or roasting pan, mix the ground beef, smoked ham, ground pork, graham cracker crumbs, eggs and milk. I like to use my hands to mix this (wearing disposable rubber gloves), and if so the eggs and milk will be very cold. Mix the ingredients until combined. Line 3-4 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a tablespoon, heap the mixture to make a large rounded tablespoon ball. Place on baking sheet, making sure the ham balls don’t touch. Bake 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until ham is cooked through and tops are lightly browned. Cool completely. Place baking sheets in freezer to flash freeze. When ham balls are hardened, place contents in a 2 gallon size freezer bag. In a separate quart size freezer bag, combine sauce ingredients and include with the 2 gallon size freezer bag. To serve: Do not thaw. Place in slow cooker, add sauce on top. Cook on low 4-6 hours.
Servings: 25 Ham Balls
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