Iowa Ham Balls with Sweet Sour Glaze

Iowa Ham Balls with Sweet Sour Glaze

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This recipe will make 18 good-sized ham balls, allow 2 to 3 per person.



The Ham Balls:

  • 1 pound ground ham
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 3/4 cups fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • scant cup milk
  • pinch ground allspice
  • pinch ground cloves


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard powder


To make the glaze, mix the brown sugar with the mustard powder. Slowly add the vinegar, whisking well as you pour it in. Set aside & whisk again before using.

To make the ham balls:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or spray a 9 x 11″ pan.

Combine ham, pork, breadcrumbs, egg, milk, and spices. Mix only until combined. Shape into roughly 1/3 cup sized balls (divide mixture into half, then each half into 8 portions.) See note, below, on mixing.

Place in greased baking pan (the fit will be close) and bake for 30 minutes, covered. Uncover, add glaze, and bake for an additional 45 minutes, basting every now and then with the glaze. (the glaze will smell strongly of vinegar as you baste – don’t breathe in and don’t worry, the strong vinegar smell/flavor will dissipate.) The balls should be looking shiny and somewhat brown when done.

Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes, then serve warm. (Glaze with slightly thicken as the temperature lowers.)

Note: the ham, pork & breadcrumbs can all be pulsed up in the food processor. Chunk up and pulse a bit at a time until broken down. I normally pulse up the ham, add some of the ground pork and whirl it a few times to combine, then mix all ingredients together. It makes for a more cohesive ball when made in the food processor.

Keywords: Bargain Meal of the Week, Family Recipe, German, Ground Ham, Ground Pork, Ham, leftover ham, Pork, Pork Shoulder Recipe