How to cook: Pork Hamonado

How to cook: Pork Hamonado

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.

The brine is not just water and salt. I used unsweetened pineapple juice, rock salt, peppercorns, garlic and onions.

To make the brine, I poured about two cups of juice into a resealable bag (read: Ziploc). I added about 1/3 c. of rock salt. Yes, that much salt. I also threw in 3 cloves of garlic, lightly pounded; a whole onion, quartered; and a teaspoonful of peppercorns. Then, I put the pork inside the bag, sealed the bag and kept the pork in the fridge for four days. I turned the pork over and gave it a massage twice a day.

Then, I baked the pork. I made a bed of sliced onions in a baking dish, placed the pork on top of the onions and threw in a couple of cloves of garlic. I covered the baking dish with foil and baked the pork in a 300F oven for two and a half hours.

Pork Hamonado

After baking, the pork was completely cooked and it has retained all of its juices because it was baked covered at a low temperature.

Pork Hamonado

Next, I peeled off the skin, leaving the layer of fat underneath.

Pork Hamonado

Using a small sharp knife, I scored the fat and inserted a whole clove whether the incisions intersected.

Pork Hamonado

I placed the pork on a clean baking dish (I used my trusty pizza dish) lined with baking paper.

Pork Hamonado

Then, I spread jam liberally on top of the pork — right on the fat layer which I had just scored.

Pork Hamonado

And then, I baked the pork at 450F for about 15 minutes just until the top was nicely browned.

Pork Hamonado

The sugar in the jam caramelized, creating a gold red crust on the layer of pork fat.

Pork Hamonado

I let the pork rest for 30 minutes (if it were a larger piece of meat, I’d let it rest longer), placed it on a chopping board, turned it sideways and pulled out the bones. Twist and pull and the bones come off easily if the meat is very tender.

You can serve the pork whole so that the glaze is undisturbed as it reaches the dinner table. You can slice it right at the dinner table.

Pork Hamonado

But since there were only Speedy and myself, I simplified everything for convenience.

Pork Hamonado

I sliced the pork hamonado, arranged the pork slices on a platter alongside slices of cucumber, tomatoes and onions.

pan de sal

Then, I served the pork hamonado with home baked pandesal.

Cooking time (duration):about 3 hours, excluding brining time

Number of servings (yield): 4 to 6 (for a kilo of meat)

Meal type: supper

  • Mary Joy Tacay

    Hi Connie,

    “Then, I baked the pork. I made a bed of sliced onions in a baking dish, placed the pork on top of the onions and threw in a couple of cloves of garlic. I covered the baking dish with foil and baked the pork in a 300F oven for two and a half hours.”

    Do you bake the pork with the brine?



    • Connie

      No. I thought that was clear from the photo…

    • maruh

      yum! ms connie! will try this next time! na miss ko tuloy yung pandesal hehehe drooling :)

  • Vicky Go

    Hi Connie! This sounds delicious. I’m in NJ, USA. What cut of pork would yoi suggest I use? something that would have the skin on?
    Thank you for your scrumptious dishes! Makes me feel so homesick!

    • Connie

      Pork shoulder, belly… Skin on — yes, so the fat does not burn during baking.

      • Ebba

        I would definitely cook this recipe on New Year’s Eve, probably use canned peaches.Your trick of cooking with the skin was great. At the Vietnamese grocery that I buy my boneless pork loin, they can take out the skin for me (but I still take it); my plant is to bake it like you do with the covered (unattached skin), then taking it out will be a breeze. Thanks for sharing; I will also try your pandesal recipe with this dish.

  • An

    I am cooking this for New Year’s Eve. I now have the slab of pork in the brine solution and have planned to keep in the ref until the morning of December 31. Thanks for the recipe. This is a great addition to my Asian-theme menu for New Year’s eve.

    • cynthia

      Can i use chicken instead of pork?
      Thanks & more power.

      • Connie

        Yes but not with that presentation. Chicken has no fat to score.

  • kreez

    ms connie, looks relly yummy, i’m making this dish, i already have my meat soaking in brine in my fridge in time for new year’s eve. I have a question though, I know you said we can use any jam but I have kalamansi jam and blueberry jam, which do you think will work better? TIA

    • Connie

      I’m a citrus fan so I’ll go with kalamansi. :)

      • kreez

        Thanks ms connie! i’m sure this will turn out great!

        • Leo

          I cooked this on New Year’s eve and turned out great. I just followed step by step as described but I just used orange marmelade instead. Real yum-yum!!!
          Thanks Connie for the recipie.

          • An

            Thanks, Ms. Connie! I prepared this as part of our New Year’s feast. Everyone in the family liked it!


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    • loui

      I want to be ur son so that I can eat ur food all year long. haha

      • Connie

        You can just ask your mom to cook my recipes. :)

        • joanna

          this looks so good.i will definitely try to make this in the coming days

  • heidi tuazon

    hello connie,

    this really looks yummy, hope to cook it too but dont know what clove is
    and may i know what clove is in tagalog and where can i buy it?

    • Connie Veneracion

      Clove is a spice. You can see it in the photos of the masala chai recipe.

  • Allan

    That is DIVINE! Awesome idea using the triangular rib cut. The bones actually formed the “wire rack” and contributed to the overall flavor of the dish.

  • tony

    hi Connie! your ham looks so gorgeous! may i know the weight of the pork ribs that you used for the brine solution? i will definitely try this for the holidays.thanks

    • Connie Veneracion

      About 2 kilos.

  • dyosamom

    “Using a small sharp knife, I scored the fat and inserted a whole clove whether the incisions intersected.”

    Ms. Connie, sorry for my ignorance… what does ‘scored’ mean? and those star-shaped something that protrudes, were those garlic cloves? They look like raisins? Thanks!

  • Madz

    Can other flavors of jam be used? :)

  • Connie

    To score means to cut along the surface. The photos are provided to illustrate.

    A clove is a spice.

  • Pink MagaLine

    I had the same question regarding those star-shaped cloves. I asked Mr. Wikipedia and he says and I quote, “Cloves are the aromatic dried flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae.”

    Btw madam, I’m now cooking hainanese chicken rice, based from your recipe. This is my second time to make it at home. Thanks. Sarap ng lunch! :D

  • Connie

    Oh, yes! :)

  • Connie

    Enjoy! I’ll be making Hainanese chicken rice again when the girls are home for the Holicay break.

  • Gay

    Sarap naman, especially with those gooey tender fat!

  • Victoria

    I’m planning to cook a whole ham following your pork hamonado recipe.I know I should cook it for 5 hours. Do you think I should keep the skin at first and peel it off, lets say halfway through the cooking time? Thank you for your answer.

  • cindy

    Ms. Connie i definitely want to make this!Could you tell me the specific cut of pork to ask for and where in the meat section of Unimart can i find this?So far all your recipes that i’ve tried have become family favorites! I’ m sure this one will too! Thanks so much. Merry Christmas to you and the family:-)

  • Joy

    That looks wonderful. I might make this for new years.

  • Connie

    Cindy, actually, I did not ask for a special cut — I just saw this piece which had already been cut. Perhaps, you can just check (or ask for) their special cut pork spare ribs.

  • Connie

    Length of cooking depends on the weight of the meat.

    “Do you think I should keep the skin at first and peel it off, lets say halfway through the cooking time?”

    No. The fat will brown (and might even burn) prematurely before all the required cooking is done.

  • maryann

    this looks yummy…. be trying this for sure!!! hope it will turn out right :-)