Ham Balls on Christmas Eve is a long-standing tradition in the Anderson household. Scott’s mom followed her parents’ tradition and made these every Christmas for her family. Each year our children would hear their Grandma Connie lovingly tell the story of how her father was the postmaster in Bismarck. He would stay at work until the last Christmas letter and package was delivered; their Christmas Eve meal had to include foods that would keep until he came home. These ham balls made the cut and have been part of the menu for close to 100 years!
The Anderson clan has expanded to 30+ adults and I’ve tweaked and multiplied the original recipe over the years to accommodate our growth and incorporate healthier ingredients. I like to make these ahead of time and freeze. I reheat in a slow cooker so they’re ready to eat when we come home from our Christmas Eve church service.
It’s best to use nitrate-free ham and ground pork from a source you trust. I buy Beeler’s Uncured Hickory Smoked Ham. Some meat departments will grind the ham and pork together for you if you ask them. (I found an old meat grinder at a garage sale that I use to grind the ham.)