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Let's slice and eat Pinoy ham this Christmas!

Updated on July 13, 2011

Ham-making in the Philippines is at its fullest duringChristmas season. We call it Pinoy Hamon, one of the meal attractions on the dining table on Christmas eve. It's only during Christmas that all people in all walks of life in the country spend more money on food.

Abundance of food and lavish eating during holidays are the usual scenes of December. Orders for pork ham is massive that ham productions are going underground, even the ones who didn't have permits to produce such Christmas delicacy.

Clearly a Spanish influence, the Filipino version of pork ham is of superb quality that it is now being exported or ordered by other countries during the season.

The Traditional Christmas Ham
The Traditional Christmas Ham | Source

Let's make the Ham!

There are five things to consider when making a ham:

  1. the liquid injection in the pork meat,
  2. the pickle solution,
  3. the curing period,
  4. the smoking period
  5. and the glazing process.


5-6 Kilos ham leg

(Note: When buying the pork leg, request the vendor to debone or remove the bone leg; so that' it will be easy for you to inject solution or cure the meat)

Pumping Solution:

(This refer to the infusion of fluid on the pork meat, to enhance its taste. The salt solution is available in the wet market. Just ask about it and tell the vendor that you're making a ham this Christmas. They will easily understant the requirements in ham-making, Pinoy style)

  • Prepare 1 day before use - strain and refrigerate.

1C saturated salt solution

1T sugar

1t pink salt (or 2-3 drops of red food coloring)

Sweet pickle cover:

(Sweet pickle is young cucumber in liquid sugar solution; it is usually shredded and also used as sandwich filling, usually mix with mayonnaise. The pork meat is mixed with sweet pickle solution that will enhance it's sweet taste when done. You can ommit the food coloring if you want. Add the ingredients below to penetrate the fiber of the meat.

Prepare 1 day before use - strain and refrigerate.

4C saturated salt solution*

1C boiling water

3 1/2 T sugar

1 1/2 T pink salt (or 6-8 drops of red food coloring)

(other flavorings of your choice)

For tasting and browning the ham:

1/4-1/2 C sugar


(Note: This set of steps never change, whether it is homemade or for commercial production. For the homemade ones, a ham curist, that's what I used to call myself when I'm making it on board ship. This procedure is copied by many enthusiasts and can be found in many Filipino Cooking books. I am sharing this with you to promote this Christmas treat that most Filipinos crave for during the season)

1. Inject (use 5 or 10 cc syringe) cold pumping solution through the ham artery and at several areas around the muscle. Make sure to inject the solution at all areas of the muscles too.

2. Place injected ham in a container and cover with sweet pickle solution. Refrigerate.

3. Overhaul ham on the 5th, 10th and 15th day by removing ham from the container stirring up the pickle solution several times, then repacking the ham....

4. Allow ham to cure for over a period of 40 days.

5. After the curing period, wash ham, drain overnight at room temperature.

6. Smoke continuously until ham achieved a mahogany color.

(To dry and obtain the smoked flavor... As an option, roast ham equally until the ham turn light brown. The ham should not be dark and fully cooked. only the smoke should reach the ham and not the fire...)

7. Allow the ham to cool overnight before packaging.

8. Freeze until ready to use.

Glazing/Sweetening the Ham:

(Guard closely the temperature of the oven. Sugar when heated will send out aroma whether it is being burnt or not. You're nose will tell you when the ham you're glazing is done already. from time to time, open the oven door to sift the pineapple juice and sugar solution  into the top of the ham. Continue until well done.)

  1. Place ham in a pan, add the flavorings, pineapple juice and sugar. Drain.

  2. Spread brown sugar all over the ham and caramelize in an oven or turbo oven or a hot blower. Done already.

  3. Slice it to your desired thickness and serve. Pour Honey syrup before eating if desired.

Note: This is the most common recipe for the ham, Pinoy style or Philippine-made.

Leftovers of the ham can still be used as  ham gumbo soup or you can fry it with egg or just eat it cold. You can also use it as filling to your homemade sandwich, topped with shredded iceberg lettuce, tomato slice and cheese. You can also use it for New year's eve celebration!


How to Cook Classic Christmas Meals : Traditional Holiday Ham Recipe c/o expertvillage

Let's toast the red wine while eating ham.
Let's toast the red wine while eating ham. | Source

Drink red wine as you eat ham.

The food and wine rule will heightened your appreciation with the holidays. Must be the 'spirit' of the season (of course, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ).

Choosing an appropriate red wine to compliment with your ham is at your own hand. Prices will reveal the most to the least popular 'reds'.

I often hear the jargon: "It's good for the heart." Yes, it applies to all kinds of wine. White wine compliments with fish/seafoods and white meats (chicken, etc.) white the red wine is for pork, beef and related meats.

So, I'm sure that red wine will be on the Christmas dining table, too!

With it's 5 per cent alcohol content, a bottle of wine with just four or five people will not harm your heart while celebrating Christmas.


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    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @lostinspace114: Well, you can still shorten the process. The gourmet stores sell the curing salt for the ham. Just ask for it, they know.

      Gourmet store owners will even share their expertise about making ham this Christmas.

      Best regards!!!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm plannng to make ham for christmas, but since you mentioned i need 40 days to cure the meat, i don't know if i have time to prepare it still. What part of the wet market can I find the salt solution? :) thanks so much..

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      @earthbound1974: You bet, it is!!! Thanks for dropping by.

    • earthbound1974 profile image


      7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Looks delicious. I'm sure the taste is more than gastronomic!!!

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      8 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      You mean, can't wait? Yeah! It will be soon! Thanks, sailor. :D

    • thesailor profile image


      8 years ago from Seven Seas

      Can't waste to taste that ham! Yummy!!! :)))

    • travel_man1971 profile imageAUTHOR

      Ireno Alcala 

      8 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      I still have my Pinot noir @ home; just waiting to be opened come Christmas eve. Cheers, Princessa! :D

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 

      8 years ago from France

      That ham looks delicious... A Pinot noir or a Beaujolais Nouveau would go fantastic with that ham.


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