Several days ago, I brined a piece of pork intending to make ham. Then, one night about four days since I started brining the meat, there was nothing else to cook for dinner so I took out the pork, removed it from the brine and decided I’d make hamonado instead.
In the Philippines, “hamonado” refers to a dish cooked liked ham but sweetened with fruit juice — pineapple juice, most often, although other juices may be substituted. Pork hamonado is a popular party dish especially during Christmas and New Year.
Some cooks like to braise the slab of pork in pineapple juice, others bake the meat in the juice. The fancy versions are filled and rolled — the pork is cut and shaped like a jelly roll, spread with filling like a jelly roll then rolled, tied and baked. Here’s how I made my hamonado.
It starts with a good cut of pork and a flavorful brine. Pork butt is meaty but it does not have enough fat to keep the hamonado moist. I used a special cut of pork ribs — perfectly cut into a rectangle. I found it at Unimart and what I could do with it — all the creative possibilities — flashed through my mind.
I brined the pork for four days. In the fridge, of course.
Then, I baked it.
The pork rind was peeled off leaving the layer of fat underneath.
The fat was scored in a criss-cross pattern and whole cloves were inserted where the cuts intersected.
The slab of pork went on a clean baking pan.
And the pork fat was slathered with jam.
Afetr 15 minutes in a hot oven, the jam had caramelized on the pork fat.
Gorgeous, isn’t it?
The meat was so tender that the bones came off without resistance.
And the pork hamonado is ready to serve.
- 1 and 1/2 kilograms and 1/2 kilos pork (skin on with at least 1/2 inch of fat underneath), in one piece
- 2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
- 1/3 cup rock salt
- 3 cloves garlic cloes lightly pounded
- 1 whole whole onion quartered
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1 large onion thinly sliced
- 4 to 6 cloves garlic
- whole cloves
Rinse the pork and pat dry. Place in a resealable bag. Pour the juice inside. Add the salt, garlic, onion and peppercorns. Seal the bag and shake gently to distribute the contents. Keep in the fridge for four days. Turn the bag over twice a day.
Preheat the oven to 300F.
Drain the pork.
Line the baking dish with the sliced onion. Lay the pork on top of the onion slices. Throw in the garlic. Cover the baking dish with foil. Bake the pork at 300F for two and a half hours.
Cool the pork for about 10 minutes. While it cools, turn up the oven temperature to 450F.
Peel off the pork skin. If the pork is sufficiently cooked, it should come off easily.
Using a small sharp knife, score the fat in a criss-cross pattern and insert a whole clove where the incisions intersect.
Transfer the pork to a clean baking sheet line with non-stick paper.
Spread enough jam to completely cover the pork fat.
Bake at 450F, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until the top is browned.
Cool the pork hamonado.
You can serve the pork hamonado whole so that the glaze is undisturbed as it reaches the dinner table. You can slice it right on the dinner table. Or slice the meat and arrange on a plate with vegetables.