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Easter Ham Leftovers Make Great Ham Balls

Ham balls are a Pennsylvania Dutch delicacy.

Ham balls are a Pennsylvania Dutch delicacy. Kimberly A. Baker, ©2019 , Clemson Extension

Looking for a new recipe to help use up your leftover Easter ham? Move over egg salad sandwiches and ham casseroles, and let me introduce you to ham balls! If you have never heard of ham balls you are in for a treat! Ham balls are a Pennsylvania Dutch delicacy. As a native Pennsylvanian, I grew up eating these ham/pork based “meatballs” and remember requesting them (along with scalloped potatoes and baked pineapple) for many birthday dinners. They are easy to make, a great way to use leftover ham, and they freeze well (before or after baking) for a quick-to-serve meal. Ham balls are primarily a combination of ground ham and ground pork. If you don’t have a meat grinder don’t worry. The ham and pork can easily be finely processed in a food processor. In a pinch, I have even substituted the pork with mild breakfast sausage. The ground (or finely chopped) ham and pork is bound with bread/cracker crumbs, eggs, and milk, and then lightly seasoned with mustard. Once these ingredients are mixed, shape the mixture into a ball about the size of a tennis ball, and place in a lightly greased casserole dish. I usually get about 6 ham balls per recipe. Next, mix together the ingredients for the sauce and pour over the ham balls. The sauce is an unexpected combination of milk, vinegar, brown sugar, and mustard. Do not let this throw you off! This sweet, tangy glaze-like sauce really makes the ham balls moist and delicious. From this point you can either freeze and bake later, or go ahead and bake. Be aware that while this dish comes together quickly, baking does take some time. Initially bake at 350 F for 1 hour with a cover on the dish. After 1 hour bake an additional 30 to 45 minutes uncovered. I commonly baste the ham balls 2 times after I remove the cover, so I generally have to bake for 45 minutes due to the opening of the oven door. When the ham balls are done they will be golden brown and the sauce will be reduced to a liquid glaze. Serve with the sauce, or freeze for an easy microwavable dish for a day you need a quick-to-serve meal.

A sweet, tangy glaze-like sauce really makes the ham balls moist and delicious.

A sweet, tangy glaze-like sauce really makes the ham balls moist and delicious. Kimberly A. Baker, ©2019 , Clemson Extension

Ham Balls

1 pound ground cooked ham
1 pound ground pork
2 eggs
½ cup milk
1 cup bread or cracker crumbs
1 teaspoon mustard
½ cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard
1 cup milk

Mix the first 6 ingredients together and form into 6 balls. Place in a lightly greased casserole dish. For the sauce, mix brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, and milk and pour over ham balls. Bake at 350F for 1 hour, covered, then ½ to ¾ of an hour longer, uncovered. Serves 6.

For more information on Pork see, HGIC 3511, Safe Handling of Pork.

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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