Christmas won't be the same without ham. Make your own "Hamon" or holiday ham with this simple recipe. It also comes with a deliciously sticky pineapple glaze to complete the holiday mood.
What is Hamon?
Hamon or “Hamonada” is what we call the Filipino holiday ham that is commonly served during Christmas and New Year. There are different Hamon recipes and they do vary in flavor, but Filipinos are fond of the sweet ham.
Filipino cured ham is wet-brined using a few simple spices. It is then cooked in pineapple juice and brown sugar which will be simmered and turned into a beautiful thick glaze.
What Cut of Pork to Use?
Hamon recipe requires a specific cut of meat to use, which is, you guessed it—ham. Also known as fresh ham, when uncured or 'pigue' in Filipino. You can also choose to have it bone-in or boneless.
You can have the whole ham, which is big enough to feed a small town. Or half-ham which is still big enough for up to 12 people. For a smaller family, a smaller one should do.
Ham Shank-end is the lower part of the ham close to the shank. It has the leaner portion of meat and easier to carve but has lesser meat than the butt-end.
Ham Butt-End is the upper part of the ham and this tends to have more meat and fat than the shank-end. A little tricky to carve because of the shape of the bone.
For this Hamon recipe, I used the shank-end.
How to make ham or Hamon?
Before you start, decide if you want it rind/skin on or off? Removing the rind beforehand, although it requires additional work, will make the curing time shorter. But it can also be removed later on after the leg is cooked. I find that removing the rind when it is cooked and just before glazing is much easier.
The next step is to prepare the brine for the wet-cure. This is simply a solution made from salt, water, brown sugar, preferred spices and curing salt or pink salt. The brine is combined and boiled for a few minutes and has to cool down before using it. Ice and cold water can be added to the brine to cool it faster. Add the curing salt when the mixture is cold.
The brine is then added to the pork placed in a container, fully submerging the meat. Use a container that snugly fits the meat or use a big plastic bag. Let it cure in the fridge for some days, depending on the size of the meat.
Once the curing time is done, take it out of the brine and rinse the meat. You may need to tie the meat with twine to hold its shape or to shape it as you wish if using boneless ham. Place it in a pot and add water, pineapple juice, brown sugar, salt, bay leaf, and peppercorn. Cover and bring to boil for one to one and a half hours. Remember not to overdo it or the meat will be too tender and will break when you carve it.
Remove the ham from the pot, leaving the liquids to simmer until it is reduced to a thick pineapple glaze. Run the glazed through a sieve to filter out the solids and set aside.
Remove the rind by running a knife along the length of the leg. Lift one side of the rind and gently pull it away while leaving the fat attached to the meat. Use the sharp tip of the knife to help you easily separate the rind from the fat.
If you like, score the fat side of the ham by running a sharp knife through the fat to create the classic diamond-shaped pattern.
Place the ham on a pan and rub the ham generously with brown sugar. Using a blow torch, caramelize the sugar on the ham. Alternatively, place ham in oven and roast at 220°C/425°F or until the sugar has caramelized.
NOTE: If not using immediately, stop at this point. You can store ham in the fridge for a couple (3-4) of days to be taken out on the big day. Or you can freeze it to extend the shelf life. Just make sure it is properly wrapped or sealed. Remember to thaw before using.
If to be served on the same day, after caramelizing the sugar, brush the ham with half of the pineapple glaze and bake again for 15-20 minutes.
If it was previously frozen then thawed, it will need longer baking time at a lower temperature. Bake first at 150°C |300°F for 20 minutes without the glaze. Remove from oven and baste with the glaze and pan juices, bake again for 15 minutes. Turn up the temperature to 220°C|425°F and brush again with glaze and bake for another 15 minutes or until the outer layer becomes bubbly and dark brown.
Let the ham rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.
Homemade Ham with Pineapple Glaze (Hamon Recipe)
- 4-5 pounds fresh pork ham - shank-end, bone-in, skin intact, about 4-inch thick
- 1 cup rock salt
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 teaspoons pink curing salt - Prague Powder #1
- 3 pieces star anise
- 1 teaspoon peppercorn
- 3 pieces bay leaves
- 10 cups water - or 9 cups of water and 1.5 cups of ice cubes
- 2 cups pineapple juice -unsweetened
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 pieces bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon peppercorn
- 1 tablespoon salt
- brown sugar - for coating
- Prepare the brine solution. In a small pot or saucepan, combine all the dry ingredients together, except for the curing salt. Add 2 cups of water and bring to boil while stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Let it simmer for 5 minutes then remove from heat.
- Fill the container with the remaining water and pour in the brine solution. Add the ice cubes and stir to mix. Add the pink curing salt and mix until dissolved.
- Add the ham making sure that it is fully submerged in the brine. Place a plate on top to push the meat down if needed. Place the container in the fridge to cure for 10-12 days.
- Once the curing time is done, take it out of the brine and rinse. Tie the meat with twine to hold its shape or to shape it as you wish if using boneless ham.
- Place it in a pot and add the ingredients for the glaze. Cover and bring to boil for one to one and a half hours. Remember not to overdo it or the meat will be too tender and will break when you carve it.
- Remove the ham from the pot, leaving the liquids to simmer until it is reduced to a thicker glaze. Run the glazed through a sieve to filter out the solids and set aside.
- Remove the rind/skin. Use the sharp tip of the knife to help you easily separate the rind from the fat. Score the fat side of the ham by running a sharp knife through the fat to create the classic diamond-shaped pattern.
- Place the ham on a baking pan and rub the ham generously with brown sugar. Using a blow torch, caramelize the sugar on the ham. Alternatively, place ham in oven and roast at 220°C/425°F or until the sugar has caramelized. (SEE NOTE 1)
- Brush the ham with half of the pineapple glaze and bake again for 15-20 minutes or until glaze is bubbly and dark golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let the ham rest for 10-15 minutes. Carve ham in the desired thickness. Serve the ham slices with a drizzle from the remaining pineapple glaze.