Celebrate Pinoy-style Christmas: Serve Sweet Delicious Ham

In the Philippines, Christmas won’t be complete if there's no for Noche Buena! Christmas hams or commonly called as “hamon” are sold in the market for as low as Php400/kilo up to Php1000++/kilo.  And, it gets even more expensive when approaching Christmas Eve.

There are many varieties of ham but Filipinos mostly prefer the sweeter ones. That is why sweet hams usually soaked in pineapple are best sellers come Christmas time.

Want to earn extra income this December? It’s the perfect month to sell hams. We’ll share to you a recipe brought to you by an accredited DTI Livelihood Trainer. You can serve it on your Noche Buena table or even gift it to your dear ones.

Here’s how to make your very own sweet ham.

Christmas Sweet Ham

  • 1 kilo pork skinless/boneless

Stage 1: Pickling/Curing Solution

  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup rock salt
  • 1.5 tbsp refined/brown sugar
  • 2 tsp curing salt solution
  • 1.5 tbsp phosphate
  • 100 g ascorbic acid (powdered)
  • 1.5 ham spice

1. After you prepare all the pickling/curing solution, mix well in a bowl until all solid ingredients dissolve.

2. Next is to prepare a clean large syringe to be used for curing the ham. Inject the solution into the ham so that the flavor will absorb up to the middle portion of the ham-ball.

3. After injecting the liquid curing solution, massage the ham-ball for about 3-5 minutes.


If you have help in the kitchen while still massaging the ham, prepare the dry/curing mixture.

Stage 2: Dry/Curing Mixture

  • 2 tbsp rock salt
  • 1.5 tbsp brown sugar
  • ¼ tbsp phosphate
  • 500 mg ascorbic acid (powdered)

1. In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.

2. Place the ham-ball inside the bowl and continue massaging while rubbing the dry/curing mixture.

3. Let it rest for 1-2 minutes.

4. Wash the ham-ball in running water. Let it dry.

5. Tie it with a string (creating a ball) to secure the shape of the ham.

Next is to prepare it for cooking.

Stage 3: Cooking Solution

  • 2 cups pineapple juice
  • 1 cup soda
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 3-6 pcs laurel
  • Oregano
  • 3-6 pcs cloves

1. Mix all the cooking solution ingredients well and let it boil for about 5 minutes.

2. Place the ham-ball and simmer for 45 minutes. And, from time to time turn the ham ball upside-down so that the solution will penetrate the ham as it slowly turns brown.

While waiting for the ham to be done. Prepare the caramel solution on a separate pot.

Stage 4: Caramel Solution

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 cup ham broth (taken from the cooking solution while cooking the ham)

1. Mix well until the solid ingredient (sugar) is dissolved. Cook in a separate pot.

2. Remove from heat when it starts to thicken or caramelized. Set aside.

Final Stage:

1. After 45 minutes, remove the ham-ball inside the pot. Cut and remove the strings.

2. On a clean plate, glaze the ham-ball covering it using the prepared caramel solution.

3. Slice the ham-ball thinly after glazing. You can garnish it with pineapple chunks before serving.

4. Serve and enjoy!

You will only need a capital of about Php380 per sweet ham with this recipe. You can sell your sweet hams for Php480-Php500 giving you a profit of Php100-Php120.

The recipe does not involve baking and if you don’t have a pot, you can prepare your ham just by using your rice cooker.

If you want to learn more about the recipe, you can visit any Department of Trade and Industry - Philippine Trade and Training Center (DTI-PTTC) near you. The DTI Bacolod Office is located at 3/F Prudential Life Bldg., Luzuriaga-San Juan Sts., Bacolod City. You can contact them at (034) 434-7920.