Cook This: Crispy Pata Christmas Ham

December 22, 2016

The god-awful, sickly-sweet versions of Christmas ham outnumber the edible ones in droves. The popular combination of pork plus something sugary goes vogue every year, but somehow the Christmas iteration ends up too far from savory. Resistance is futile however, because it really tastes like its eponymous holiday—an awkward reunion with long-lost relatives doesn’t feel like Christmas without it.


This recipe gets rid of the mounds of starchy meat masquerading as pig, and takes a large crispy pata (you can buy one on your own, but we recommend cooking it yourself if you have the time), brushed with a glaze like you would a ham. Instead of being barely discernible from mystery meat, the pata has all that glorious gelatinous cartilage, and deeply-colored fried meat and skin around knuckles. And don’t worry—you won’t need to lose the holiday spirit of it all. Craft a syrup with all the essence of fruit cake–we aren’t messing around with the prunes–and drown your pork in it.

Crispy Pata Christmas Ham

Yield: 1 ham
Time: 3 days (for brining)


  • 2 liter water
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 1 tbsp pink salt
  • 1 pc pata
  • 1 pc onion, halved
  • 3 pcs garlic, smashed
  • 1 pc bayleaf
  • 5 pcs peppercorn

Ingredients: Fruit Cake Glaze

  • 120g brown sugar
  • 120ml orange juice
  • ½ tsp cloves, ground
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • ½ tsp allspice, ground
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup prunes

Procedure: Crispy Pata Ham

  1. Mix water, salt, and pink salt together till everything is well combined.
  2. Place pata in brine and leave to steep at least two days.
  3. When hock is ready, remove from brine.
  4. Bring water with onion garlic and spices to a boil and add pork.
  5. Simmer till tender, at least two hours.
  6. When done remove pork and leave uncovered in fridge overnight to let skin dry out.
  7. Place in a 220˚C oven and roast for 30 minutes then bring down oven to 180˚C and cook for another 30 minutes.
  8. Glaze with fruit cake glaze.

Procedure: Fruit Cake Glaze

  1. Mix all ingredients together and simmer
  2. Whisk and remove from fire when thick.
Pamela Cortez Pamela Cortez

Pamela Cortez writes about food full-time, and has honed her craft while writing for publications such as Rogue, Town and Country, and The Philippine Star. She once rode on a mule for a mile just to eat mint tea and lamb in Morocco, and has eaten a block of Quickmelt in one sitting. Her attempt at food photography can be viewed online @meyarrr.

2 comments in this post SHOW

2 responses to “Cook This: Crispy Pata Christmas Ham”

  1. Lourdes Tactay says:

    Tns Mam Trish for this sumptous noche buena dish, the famous crispy pata! Yummy!

  2. Lourdes Tactay says:

    Wow sarap!

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