Christmas ham recipe: brine curing

So yeah. I’m making such a big fuss over my homemade Christmas ham recipe. This year I am trying a brine or wet cure. How will it turn out?

In the past, I’ve dry-cured my hams. I shared my dry-cure experience and technique at the Filipino Mom Blog. I’ve not really made a lot of hams, maybe just 3 or 4. My last attempt was two years ago – botched with too much curing.

When I was younger, I watched Mama make her special Christmas ham recipe. So my techniques come from a combination of experience (whatever little bit I may have of it), tradition and Google knowledge (yeah!). Let me tell you first off that I DO NOT claim to be an expert in ham-making.

Now that that‘s aside…

This year, I am making a wet-cured ham (a.k.a. ham brining). Wet-curing is also known as brining. I commenced the wet-cure experiment last night. A good site I used for reference is

I bought a whole piece of 5.6-kilo fresh ham yesterday. I had the ham deboned and its skin removed. I like to keep the fatty layer on because it will add flavor to the ham when cooked.

fresh ham for brining homemade christmas ham recipe

My brine consisted of the following:

3 liters of water (boiled and cooled to room temperature)

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup rock salt

1 tsp. cinnamon powder

1 tsp. ground black pepper

The proportions have been adjusted to the size of my ham, which is 5.6 kilos (about 10 pounds). You will have to adjust the quantities according to your ham, as well as your taste. I want my hams sweet so I always add a little more sugar.

dry cure for homemade christmas ham recipe

Mix all the ingredients thoroughly to make the cure.

cure for ham brining homemade christmas ham recipe

In a clean stock pan (or a lidded plastic container), dissolve the dry cure in water. This liquid is now the brine. Completely submerge the fresh ham in the brine.

ham brining experiment homemade christmas ham recipe

Cover the pot and keep in the ref to cure for 2 weeks. Do  not freeze nor keep in warm room. The middle shelf of the ref should be perfect to keep the ham chilled, but not frozen.

According to this site, ideal curing time is 1.5 days for each pound of meat. So for a 5-kilo (11-pound) ham, 16 days is ideal. I’m doing mine for 2 weeks. It’s all the time I got ’til Christmas Eve anyway.

In two weeks, we shall see and taste and know if my brining Christmas ham recipe is successful. Until then, I will keep my fingers crossed and remain optimistic. (I could always soak the ham if it turns out too salty 😛 )

Wish me luck!

Better yet, join my experiment!

11 thoughts on “Christmas ham recipe: brine curing

  1. Hi Abaniko! Thanks for the visit. After the whole process, the ham shrinks by about half of its original size. Finishing it isn’t much a problem naman, sa sobrang laki ng aming angkan, hehe!

    Happy holidays 🙂

  2. im very excited for you! im sure it’s going to be yummy, kasi kahit yummy ang commercial ham, something homemade is special!
    bibili lang ako e 😉 next time, .. pagawa ako sa iyo, hahaha!

  3. Hi there, great post – thanks for this!! I’m also very keen to make my own ham and don’t plan to wait for xmas to come around:)

    One clarification – you mention you bought a 5.6kg of fresh HAM. Does do you mean fresh PORK? Or are you re-curing a ham?

    I’d like to home cure/smoke my own ham from fresh pork….

    Also, how do you know how long to soak the cured ham for ie…how much time to make it less salty vs UNsalty?


  4. Hi Christine! Thanks for the visit. Yes, I bought fresh pork. The pigue part is called ham. To make it less confusing, ‘fresh’ is usually added before ham to refer to uncured ‘pigue’.

    This is the first time I did wet curing (brining). The two weeks seem to have made the meat tasty enough, but no too salty.
    In the past years, I did dry curing for a month. The ham usually turned out too salty. I read recently that hams are supposed to be soaked in cold water for a few hours to remove excess salt. Unfortunately, I have not been able to try that out yet.
    I guess I have no direct answers for your question on how long to soak as I too am experimenting. Most sites suggest curing 1 day for every 2 pounds.

  5. I recently went through the whole process of buying a fresh ham, stitch injection of brine and brining for 1 day/2lbs ham. I then cooked and smooked it for 18 hrs until internal temp reached 152 degrees. It turned out great, but was just a little more salty than I had hoped for. Can this fully cooked ham be placed in cold water to purge some of the salt, or will this do more harm than good.

  6. Hi, I’m at the same quest. One thing I dont have clear, after curing it you have to cook it? How much time?

  7. Hi there, thank you very much for sharing your technique. I cannot open the link for dry curing. Can you please repost it or send to my email. I would appreciate very much. I’m also experimenting on dry curing but not successful, could be our weather? Btw are you living here in the Philippines also? A lot of instructions given in the internet for dry curing are from Europe or US which have cold weather and seem not applicable here with our climate. Hope I can get your recipe for dry curing . Thanks.

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