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.

Pineapple Glazed Ham Balls Recipe

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

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.

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Links:

Ham and cheese rice balls from Culinary Kicks
Meatballs with peppers and pineapple from Ree, The Pioneer Woman

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Showing 4 of 27 Comments

  • DessertForTwo

    I love the retro potluck recipes like this! Heard of porcupine balls? Wait, they might not be called that exactly. But it’s meatballs with raw rice in it, so that when you bake them the rice pokes out.

    Thanks for sharing, I bookmarked this for my next girls’ night!

  • cooktestant

    Oh my goodness gracious! These look insanely awesome. I am not afraid to admit that I want a ham ball. If you don’t mind I would love to post a link to this on my blog. Thanks for sharing!

  • angela

    This sounds so bad, it has to be good! I’m sure I’ll be serving these up before you know it and re-naming them “Couilles de Jambon au ananas”!

    Hi Angela. Exactemente! All you have to do is French-ify the name and voila, you have haute cuisine. ;-) ~Elise

  • Sara

    These are a popular dish is Amish country around Easter. We make them a bit larger, so I’m familiar and have my own versions of the recipe. But the idea of the sliders, with pineapple on top! And maybe on those little Hawaiian sweet roles. Now THAT I gotta try

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