The term Innasin is derived from the Bontoc/Igorot term "inassinan" meaning salted. This is used to describe salted pork meat, or meat of the pig. This is actually smoked Ham, but more salty, and in many ways, better. Some Igorots call this "Etag", but according to Ikit ay Ayotsok, the "Etag" could also apply to Beef, Carabao, Deer, Wild Boar meat.
Pork (1/5 of it should at least be fat). The best part to make into "Innasin" are the Chops. To many Igorots, the real thing should be the meat on top of the neck of the pig. I prefer the ribs, including a liberal amount of fat taken from the part below the stomach.
Ground Garlic (optional)
Ground Pepper (optional)
Container: The container must not be metal, because of the reaction of the salt with the metal. I have tried plastic containers, but they must not be the recycled kind. Make sure you are using hard plastic. If you are using plastic, the meat should be used before six months are over. And youíd better do, because Iíve tried storing in a "Tupperware" container, and after one and a half years, the meat tasted like - well .. plastic... The best containers are clay jars or wooden, airtight containers. Gourd Containers are recommended, but it is hard to acquire it if you live in the city. (And I doubt if most of those who are reading these online have it :-) ). If there is no other recourse, use Glass containers, but be sure to store it in a cool, dry, and dark place.
Preparation of "Innasin"
THE FASTEST WAY Rub the meat with generous amounts of salt. If there are bones, make sure that the place between the bone and the meat has been applied generously with salt. Even the Fat should have been rubbed with salt. For a more spicy taste, do the same steps, including adding ground garlic and ground black pepper.Look for a suitable place where the meat can be hanged so it will undergo the curing process. The best way is to smoke it in the shade.
You can use any of the varieties of redwood, oak, dried birch, or "dapong". As much as possible, avoid any of the Pine family. If you have no choice but to use Pine wood, make sure the wood is dry, and avoid using resin-packed wood, since the meat will have a bitter taste. The best wood to use is rosewood. Make a fire under the meat. The meat should be high enough so that the flames and excessive heat wonít reach it, but low enough so that the smoke reaches the meat(Your main purpose). "Smoke" it for a minimum of thirty minutes and a maximum of three hours per day, for at least two weeks. If you used rosewood, and the place you are curing it is clean, surely free from insects, dust, and dirt, the meat can actually be eaten raw. The result is the best type of Innasin. In the Cordilleras, the only place where Iíve eaten this type of Innasin was in Benguet, where rosewood was once plentiful. After smoking it, place it in a gourd container. The Bontocs call this "Lutsen" or "Luden". Way back when I was young, the gourds my mother used to acquire were either from Kalinga or Sadanga, in the Cordilleras. They were of a thick-skinned variety. If you do not have one, use a big glass container. Make sure that the container you are storing the meat in is clean, and sealed tightly.
A noted cookbook writer from Pangasinan wrote and was asking if there is another way aside from smoking it, since in the city, there is no such thing as a curing area. Well, the neighbors will just go crazy with the smoke. Well, cancel the curing process, and store it. It just won't taste that good. To approximate the taste, try this: Add the garlic and pepper, and add a little monosodium glutamate (Vetsin). It must be consumed in six months. However, if you did not add the spices, you can still store the meat for more than three years.
HOW THEN DO YOU COOK INNASIN?
The primary use of this is as part of Pinikpikan. You may wash the excess salt first, if it would be too salty for your taste.
It can also be deep fried. Cook it as you would for normal Ham. You can use either Hot sauce or Vinegar as dipping, but I love it just the way it is as viand for breakfast when I eat rice or bread.
It can be used for meat addition to most types of leafy vegetables and beans. I also love it when included in white "Johnson" beans. (Umtu-umtut ta magtek yangcay, saet paylang en-acob nan utut).
Any part of Pork can be made into Innasin, but with different results. If you plan to make Innasin that shall be aged, Select the meat without any bones attached, make sure the meat is clean, and it is free from insects. No Fly should touch it. Innasin is normally best from three to six months for general consumption, but connosieurs prefer aged Innasin. Aged Innasin can be from one and a half to two years, but I've tasted Innasin that have been aged for four years, and it has to be washed first because it was bitter (from the smoke). However, the taste was really good. Use only small pieces of Aged innasin or "Tinmangki ay Innasin" with Pinikpikan, so that the taste won't overwhelm the taste of the chicken. Generally, Aged Innasin would have redder flesh, and the fat would turn yellow. Also, Do not add Garlic and Pepper to Innasin you plan to age.
Please note that any Innasin that is made and that has bones attached to it have to be consumed in six months. If you don't well ... there is this taste that comes out(To me it's tasty), and to some - it changes the entire taste of the Innasin.