Noche Buena dish: Sweet Ham Recipe

Dec 10

sweet-ham-noche-buenaProcessed Ham these days are very expensive but you can surely prepare your very own Sweet Ham for Noche Buena. Here is a Sweet Ham recipe that has been tested many times in our kitchen. Though it is not free of preservatives, it uses very small doses of salitre. It tastes really good with the Pineapple Sauce, recipe is shown below the Sweet Ham preparation.


3 kilos (pigue or hita) pig’s leg without the bones; select one with the skin and fat intact
9 Tbsps sugar
8 tbsps salt
1-1/2 tsps msg or vetsin (optional)
2 tsps prague powder (instead of saltpeter or salitre) – In Manila, you can probably buy salitre at Chocolate Lover, a supplier of baking and cooking supplies

Address: Chocolate Lover Incorporated, 45 P.Tuazon Blvd, Quezon City 1109
Phone: 02 724 4964
Hours: Sunday hours 9:00 am–1:00 pm


1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl.

2. Rub these seasonings well into the meat. Set aside the seasoned meat in a glass bowl. Cover and refrigerate for one day.

3. Tie the ham tightly into a ball with string (I use cotton crochet string). Remove/Drain the meat juices that were left in the glass bowl and set aside for injecting.

4. Using a huge syringe (you can buy the largest syringe at Mercury drugstore for less than 20 pesos), inject the flavored meat juice all around the ham in small doses.

5. Set the ham aside in the glass bowl (covered) inside the refrigerator. Repeat the injecting process every day until no juices remain.

6. Keep the ham inside a plastic bag in the freezer for a month or more.

To cook the ham:

1. Add enough pineapple juice to cover the ham at about 3/4’s level (not quite to the top of the ham).

2. Add the following:

Brown sugar, just enough to sweeten the pineapple juice mixture
Bay leaves
Crushed garlic

3. Cook the mixture in a heavy, teflon-type pot over a low fire until the meat becomes tender. Watch out that the meat doesn’t get burned. You can prevent over-browning by turning the meat from time to time.

4. Cool the meat and slice into pieces.

If you want a drier ham, put the ham in a glass dish (pyrex) before cooling and slicing. The meat, however, will shrink considerably and will be a little tough (almost like beef jerky consistency).

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Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (375 Posts)

Noemi, Editor of Blog Watch and features editor of Philippine Online Chronicles is a 55 year old mother to three kids and is married to Atty. Luis H. Dado. She loves being a full time mother and homemaker after retiring as a Researcher/Consultant from the UP Institute for Small Scale Industries in 1987. Now that her children are all college graduates, she devotes her time to grief support, blogging, new media events and using her blogs to promote online advocacies. Her personal blog is at, which garnered numerous awards such as Best Website, Blog Category during the 9th and 10th Philippine Web Awards. Her blog also won in the Blog- Personal Category of the Web Awards 2007 and Globelines Broadband Family Blog Award (in honor of family-oriented blogging) 2007 Philippine Blog Award. Globe also recognized her as Digital Elder in the 2009 Philippine Blog Award.

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  • Elaine

    that’s a cool cool recipe u have for the ham. I was wondering if it is really necessary to keep it in the freezer for a month?What if there’s not enough time, is there a shortcut?tnx!

  • noemi

    one month meant you can use the ham up to one month from the time it was cured.

  • Lance Ruzzell

    Thank you very much there is a website like this. now I have project in school to pass

  • Iryn Newkirk

    Cool Recipe… Will try that this year and I still have a month time for the curing! I think the longer the better it gonna taste good!!!

  • Juliana

    Is there any substitute ingredient for salitre, cos i couldn’t find one here where i am staying? many thanks…….


    What if you buy the cured ham already and half cooked?

  • dionne

    my girlfriend always make me ,the sweet ham for christmas.I moved away so this year i am trying this myself.

  • Maicy Gray

    Thanks for this! I have been wanting to make my very own ham recipe! This is a perfect gift for Christmas. Anyways, i am huge fan of cheesecakes and I a very good one at the Cravings Restaurant! I can’t help but drool every time I thought of how delicious it was! I wanted to know how to create cheesecakes. I just love Cravings Restaurant cakes!