I first published this pata hamonado in 2014, and I am updating it today with new photos and tips. If you prefer pork belly instead of pork leg, check out this pork hamonado version. The procedure is the same; the only change would be the cook time as we’re using a different cut of meat.
What is Hamonado
Hamonado refers to a type of Filipino cooking where meat is marinated or cooked with pineapple. Fatty cuts of pork, chicken or beef are first seared in hot oil until lightly browned and then braised in pineapple juice along with soy sauce, brown sugar, and aromatics such as onions, garlic, and peppercorns to round off flavors.
Other regional versions of the dish may also include tomato sauce, banana ketchup, raisins, carrots, and/or hot dogs
Tips on How to Make Pata Hamonado
- While you can use whole pork leg, I suggest cutting the meat into about 2-inch thickness to speed up cooking time.
- Take the extra effort of browning the pork. Searing over high heat caramelizes the surface of the meat and adds incredible flavor.
- Cook low and slow to allow the fat to render and the tough, connective tissues to soften to melt-in-your-mouth tenderness.
- As the liquid in the can is what’s used to braise the meat, make sure the pineapples are packed in juice and not heavy syrup which is too sweet and lacks the sour notes needed to balance the sweet and salty flavors.
- Add about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar to boost the tanginess of the pineapple juice; let boil uncovered and without stirring to mellow out the acid taste.
- Preferably use brown sugar, and not white, as it has a slightly less concentrated sweetness and contains molasses which will enhance the rich flavor of the hamonado sauce.
Give this hamonado recipe a try for dinner tonight. I admit it’s not exactly waist-friendly what with its thick caps of pork skin and fat but I have to say, that rich sweet, tangy, and savory sauce alone drizzled on piping-hot steamed rice is worth the fat pants!