Pineapple Glazed Ham Balls

Where to begin with these? Hank and I got an inkling to do a more “retro” recipe, and somehow we ended up with ham balls. Pineapple glazed ham balls. Let’s just say the jokes were flying today, Hank being the boy’s boy that he is and never ceasing to look for opportunities to make me blush. What are ham balls? Meatballs, made with ham, ground pork, and in our version, bacon. Slathered with a sweet and sour glaze of pineapple juice, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, and vinegar. (We were thinking about calling them “Hawaiian meatballs”, because they’re sort of like a meatball version of that classic Hawaiian pizza with pineapple and ham. But what if people in Hawaii don’t make meatballs like this? So, back to where we started.)

Before you go running for them thar hills, let me tell you that these ham meatballs are good. Really good. I wish we had thought of them in time for Super Bowl, they would have made a perfect appetizer for a big group of cheering football fans. There’s a reason pineapple and ham is a classic combination; it just works. By the way, we had a little leftover meatball mix and made some patties, sort of like a ham version of a pork burger. Terrific with the glaze. They would make great ham sliders with a little slice of pineapple on a bun.

  • Prep: 15 minutes
  • Cook: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 20-60 meatballs, depending on the size.

Ingredients

Meatballs:

  • 1/4 pound bacon, diced
  • 1 pound ham, diced
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tbsp pineapple juice

Glaze:

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch mixed with 2 Tbsp cold water

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 350°F.

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2 Put the bacon and ham into a food processor and pulse briefly 3-4 times to chop fine. Do not purée. Place the mixture in a large bowl with the remaining meatball ingredients and mix well to combine. Using your hands, form meatballs anywhere from 1-inch to 2-inches in diameter. The smaller diameter meatballs will make for easier eating if you are making them for an appetizer for a party. Larger meatballs will work well for a main course.

3 Arrange the meatballs in a casserole pan and put in the oven for about 1 hour for 2-inch diameter meatballs, or 30-40 minutes for 1-inch diameter meatballs.These meatballs are pretty forgiving, but look for an internal temperature of about 165° or so.

4 Make the glaze when you put the meatballs in the oven. Mix all the ingredients except the corn starch in a small pot and bring to a boil. Whisk in the corn starch and simmer 1-2 minutes.

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5 Baste the meatballs once they have cooked for 20 minutes, then again at 40 minutes for larger meatballs or at 10 minutes and 20 minutes if you are making small meatballs, and then again at 5 minutes before they're done.

Serve by themselves as a party appetizer, or on pineapple rings.

Main Ingredients

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