Pinoy Style Glazed Ham

In Philippines the Christmas tradition is we celebrate the eve of Christmas basically having a feast after the Christmas Eve Mass and serve whatever money can buy at that midnight. Usually most family members gather together and have this feast called “Noche Buena” where dishes like our post today the Glazed Ham along with other dishes and food like Quezo de Bola, Pinoy Spaghetti, Morcon, Kaldereta, Paella, Bibingka, Leche Flan, Buko Salad and Fruit Salad are served. I know it’s a big supper for midnight but that is our tradition basically celebrating the Birthday of Jesus like how we celebrate our birthdays.

The Glazed Ham usually is the centrepiece of the dining table and it was a tradition believed to have begun among the Germanic peoples as a tribute to Freyr, a god in Germanic paganism associated with boars, harvest and fertility. This was then for some reason become a tradition on England where it started by the Anglo-Saxons where it was believed that Saint Stephen of may have inherited some of Freyr’s legacy where a pig’s head stuffed with apple in mouth was served on a gold or silver dish to the sounds of trumpets and the songs of minstrels. That feast was December 26 and thus he came to play a part in the Yuletide celebrations. The rest was history and now since then it was associated with modern Christmas.

From there the tradition was passed over to the Spanish hence Filipinos have this lechon stuffed with apples on fiestas, then Christopher Columbus carried eight pigs on board his ship when he left Spain to explore the New World but Hernando de Soto another explorer bought 13 pigs with him and became the breeding stock for America’s pork industry when he landed on the coast of Florida in 1539. Philippines may have gotten the modern ham recipe from the Americans where it is glazed with sugar syrup and adorned with pineapples and cherries.

It was a perfect dish for Philippines as pigs are considered a main protein source back home, pineapples are abundant and of great quality as well, and only the cherries were the imported ingredient as we don’t grow cherries in Philippines. While these are the stock standard ingredients, like any dish families have different versions on how this is prepared and this is how we prepare it a home, how about you, how do you prepare them? Will this be your centrepiece for your Noche Buena?

Pinoy Style Glazed Ham
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 1 leg of ham
Poaching Liquid
  • 1½ litre pineapple juice
  • 1 litre lemonade soda (Sprite or 7-up)
  • 330 ml stout beer (Guinness)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp salt
Pineapple Glaze
  • 2 cups Poaching Liquid (from above)
  • 400 g can pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tbsp yellow mustard
  1. In a soup pot combine all poaching liquid ingredients together bring to a boil then add the ham and cook under medium heat for one hour. Make sure the whole ham is fully submerged.
  2. Remove from heat then let it cool down, refrigerate overnight.
  3. Remove from the fridge then drain the liquid reserving 2 cups for the glaze. Let the ham reach room temperature before proceeding.
  4. Prepare the glaze by combining all glaze ingredients in a sauce pan, bring it to a boil then reduce heat to medium, keep boiling until liquid is reduced and thick. Remove from heat then set this aside.
  5. Using a sharp knife, score the surface of the ham in a criss cross pattern, roughly half inch in depth. Place cloves where the lines intersect. Brush surface generously with glaze.
  6. Place ham in a roasting rack and bake in a 160C preheated oven for 1½ hours. While baking continuous glaze the ham with the glaze every 30 minutes. Increase the temperature to 200C then continue to bake until nicely browned.
  7. Remove from oven brush the surface with the pan juices, let it cool before serving.



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