Ouma Pottie’s Brandy Bacon Balls

Ouma Pottie was the queen of bacon ball recipes. She was also the queen of brandy. She poured a glass of brandy just as I like it today – straight up and on the rocks. She had a thing for a good bottle of South African Brandy. No matter the time of day, week or month, she will always have a little bit of Olof Bergh or something slightly more upmarket stashed away in the back of her wardrobe cupboard. “You never know what the day might bring”, she used to say, pouring a dash in her tumbler before missioning to the kitchen to make a batch of her famous brandy bacon balls.


  • 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


  • 1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 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 the remaining sauce from soaking. Serve with reserved sauce.