Citizens, a delicacy found almost exclusively in Akron, Ohio and the surrounding area is the little fried sauerkraut ball. These ping-pong-sized sauerkraut ball are a specialty of the Rubber City. They are a small sphere of sauerkraut combined with ground-up meat that is then breaded and deep fried. These are a wonderfully tangy, tart, and savory hors d’oeuvre.
Going back to at least the early ’60’s, crispy fried sauerkraut balls have been a favorite appetizer at Akron bars and restaurants. Basically, sauerkraut balls are to Akron like Buffalo wings are to Buffalo and Philly sandwiches are to Philly.
No one really knows how this food came to be found in Akron and Northeast Ohio, but this area seems to be the only place where they’re made. You go outside this area and not many people know what a sauerkraut ball is.
People commonly eat them as bar food with no condiment or with shrimp cocktail sauce, but many people also prefer mustard. Deep frying makes them crispy, but they can also be baked on a cookie sheet.
My version is quite traditional, Citizens and will become a favored hors d’oeuvres at your next party! ☺
Battle on – The Generalissimo
1/3 pound sweet Italian sausage, crumbled out of casing
1/3 pound Virginia ham, minced
1/3 pound corned beef, minced
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 (14 ounce) can sauerkraut, squeezed dry and finely chopped
½ teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs, divided
1 ½ tbsp. minced thyme
1 ½ tbsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried summer savory
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp. minced parsley
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup milk
6 cups peanut oil for deep-frying
Cocktail sauce or mustard for dipping
In a large skillet over medium high heat, fry meats and onion until all are evenly browned and onion is soft, about 10 minutes. Drain and allow to cool slightly.
Crumble meat mixture into a large bowl and add drained sauerkraut, mustard, garlic salt, pepper and 2 tablespoons bread crumbs. Combine cream cheese and herbs, and mix into sauerkraut mixture. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Heat oil in deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Shape sauerkraut mixture into ¾-inch balls.
Place flour in a shallow dish.
In a second shallow dish, place eggs.
In a third shallow dish, remaining bread crumbs.
Dip each sauerkraut ball first into the flour, then the egg and roll in bread crumbs.
Deep fry in batches for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown.
Drain on paper towels and serve hot with cocktail sauce or mustard for dipping.