Bourbon Ham Balls

Total Time

Prep: 70 min. + freezing Bake: 15 min.


about 3-1/2 dozen

Updated: Nov. 10, 2023
Grandma Nette was the queen of ham ball recipes. 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, Colorado
Bourbon Ham Balls Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 2 pounds fully cooked boneless ham
  • 1 thick boneless pork loin chop (8 ounces)
  • 1/2 pound bacon strips
  • 1 cup panko 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


  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, 20-24 pulses. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, milk and eggs. Add meat mixture; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 1-1/2-in. balls.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 in. 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 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.

Nutrition Facts

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