Bourbon Ham Balls Recipe
Bourbon Ham Balls Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Bourbon Ham Balls Recipe

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Grandma Nette created ham balls. I make them salty-sweet with a bourbon and vinegar kick. Serve them alone, in a sandwich or over pasta or rice. —Kimla Carsten, Grand Junction, CO
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 70 min. + freezing Bake: 15 min.
MAKES:42 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 70 min. + freezing Bake: 15 min.
MAKES: 42 servings


  • 2 pounds fully cooked boneless ham
  • 1 thick boneless pork loin chop (8 ounces)
  • 1/2 pound bacon strips
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Oil for frying
  • SAUCE:
  • 1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard

Nutritional Facts

1 ham ball with 1 teaspoon sauce: 138 calories, 8g fat (2g saturated fat), 27mg cholesterol, 276mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 0 fiber), 6g protein.


  1. Cut ham, pork chop and bacon into 1-in. pieces; arrange in a single layer in a foil-lined 15x10x1-in. pan. Freeze 30 minutes or until partially frozen.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. Transfer meat to a food processor in batches; pulse until coarsely ground, about 20-24 pulses. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, milk and eggs. Add pork mixture; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 1-1/2-in. balls.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 in. of oil over medium heat. Add ham balls in batches; cook 3-4 minutes or until cooked through, turning occasionally. Remove from pan; drain on paper towels.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk sauce ingredients; reserve 1 cup for serving. Add ham balls to remaining sauce, a few at a time, allowing ham balls to soak 1-2 minutes. Transfer ham balls to a foil-lined 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Bake 15-20 minutes or until heated through, brushing occasionally with remaining sauce from soaking. Serve with reserved sauce. Yield: about 3-1/2 dozen.
Originally published as Bourbon Ham Balls in Taste of Home November 2015, p66

Light-Bodied Red Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a light-bodied red wine such as Pinot Noir.

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loudone User ID: 5847775 243781
Reviewed Feb. 14, 2016

"Oh my goodness...these Bourbon Ham Balls are wonderful! I took them as an appetizer to my neighborhood Valentines Day wine tasting and they were the hit of the evening! I highly recommend this recipe!"

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