Pasko na naman (Its Christmas time once again) and ham is quite a popular item to serve during this festive season. Having said that demand increases together with its price so why not make one at home and I have a recipe for you, Hamon Bulakenya. While it’s not the ham that we all grew up with (apart from Bulakenyos), this is the most Filipino ham that you can make at home.
Hamon Bulakenya is a Filipino style ham from Bulacan made with pork marinated in pineapple juice and beer then served with meted and singed sugar on top. In the absence of oven, sugar drizzled on its surface is processed like pinaso where a heavy hot spatula is used to melt and toast it. It’s one of the old recipes in Bulacan and was believed have originated from the cooks of Spanish friars in Bulacan/
As you will notice from the recipe the preparation is a reflection on how they process food during the old day, like as mentioned above since there is no oven singe is use to burn the surface and in addition to that preserving this with the absence of refrigeration is basically made in the process of “inasnan” or salting. Traditionally pork is placed in an earthen jar for three days then cook it from there, like how buro is made.
Our recipe for today will not use some of the traditional methods to prepare it much faster. As for the results, they taste like the ones I tried in the Philippines long time ago.
Combine sea salt and curing salt in a bowl. Set it aside.
Wipe pork belly dry, poke holes all over the meat. Massage meat with salt mixture, wrap meat in a cling wrap securing it so it is air tight, you might need to wrap it multiple times. Place in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Rinse the meat thoroughly, place in a large pot then add the remaining ingredients, cover the pot bring to a boil then simmer in low heat for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is fork tender, turning it over once.
Increase heat to medium then reduce the liquid to a thick consistency.
Remove pork from the pot, reserve liquid, you might need to further reduce this to a thicker consistency, season sauce with salt if needed.
Let the pork cool down and let the liquid from the surface dry out and condense.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar on top then using a blow torch or a very hot singe burn the sugar on top. Alternatively, you can place pork in an oven an on grill setting at its highest melt and burn the sugar on the fat side.
Let it cool, slice then serve with the reduced sauce.