An Iowa Thing…

“A what? A hamball?” a phrase I heard once (well a lot more than just once) I moved to Kansas. Hamballs,  are an Iowa favorite. If anyone is reading this and they come from Iowa, they are very familiar with the circular form of delicious meat. Iowans love hamballs. Iowans who don’t love hamballs, usually aren’t born in Iowa (my assumption of course). This is a dish that no matter where the potluck is, someone brings it. It’s a dish they make at the meat counter at every Fareway (yes, another Iowa thing).  This is a recipe that is second nature to an Iowan like myself. Now imagine the pure shock I felt, knowing this dish wasn’t common in Kansas, no—non-existant! I asked around, and nobody knew what they were. I described them, and people who have never tried them said they were gross—obviously, anything but gross. A life with no hamballs was my first experience of a culture shock—truly mind blowing. Which is why, it is my obligation, as a true Iowan to share the recipe for this appetizing fare. Support pig and cattle farmers by making this recipe tonight!

Until next time,



  • 3-1/2 pounds ground ham
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) tomato soup, undiluted
  • 3/4 cup vinegar
  • 2-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard


  • In a large bowl, combine first five ingredients. Using a 1/3 cup measure, shape mixture into 2-in. balls. Place in two large shallow roasting pans. Combine all remaining ingredients; pour over balls. Bake at 325° for 1 hour, basting frequently with sauce. Yield: about 15 servings.
Recipe and photo from:

Just looking at these makes me want to run to the grocery store, cook and indulge!



Filed under Agriculture, Iowa, Recipes, Sigma Alpha, Uncategorized

3 responses to “An Iowa Thing…

  1. Now from my many trips to Iowa I know what Fareway is, but not ham balls. I might have to learn how to make these before I become an Iowa resident.

  2. Thank you..really informative!!

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