Lechon or (Lechón), is one of the most common dishes in the Philippines. It is derived from a Spanish word for roasted suckling pig.
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What is Lechon?How to Cook Lechon
The suckling pig is stuffed with lemongrass, tamarind, garlic, onions, and chives before being slowly roasted over an open fire on a huge bamboo spit.
At restaurants, parties, and holiday occasions such as weddings and Christmas, it is usually served whole on a platter.
However, people tend to eat any part of the pig once the meat is properly roasted and falls off the bone, but the crispy, reddish-brown, crackling skin is particularly popular.
If there are any leftovers after the feast, they are sometimes turned into Lechon slaw, which is slowly cooked with vinegar, garlic, and liver sauce for added flavor.
Apart from the Philippines, countries like Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and Spain are major fans of the dish.
How to Cook Lechon – Lechon Recipe
Lechon has also been dubbed “the best pig in the world” by some well-known chefs, so it’s certainly worth a try.
- 20 cloves of garlic
- 1 bunch trimmed cilantro
- 1 cup fresh oregano leaves, loosely packed
- Kosher salt (approximately 5 tablespoons)
- 2 tbsps. Cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- 1 ½ cups olive oil, divided
- 4 cups fresh orange juice (about 8 oranges)
- 4 cups fresh lime juice (about 10 limes)
- 1 (15- to 18-lb.) whole suckling pig
- Phase 1:
In a blender, firstly combine the garlic, cilantro, oregano, salt, pepper, cumin, and 1/2 cup of the oil.
Then, slowly drizzle in the orange and lime juice, and pulse 10 to 12 times until smooth. 1 cup of the marinade mixture should be saved for later use.
- Second phase
Secondly, place the pig in a wide enough container to accommodate its size. After that, coat the pig with the remaining marinade mixture, rubbing it all over.
Cover and chill for 8 to 24 hours, basting once in a while.
- Phase three
Now preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. In a big, rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan lined with aluminum foil, place a wire rack.
Remove the pig from the marinade and put it on a rack, tossing out the marinade.
Using the allocated 1 cup marinade mixture, inject the pig all over and rub with the remaining 1 cup oil.
Then, roast pig in a preheated oven for 4 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the shoulder joint close to the head registers 160°F, rotating pan as required.
(You can use an air-fryer to achieve this also)
Raise the oven temperature to 425°F and roast for 1 hour, or until the skin is golden brown and crispy. Finally, allow 20 minutes for resting. Serve right away.
How to Eat/Serve
A thick and rich liver sauce made with sugar, fresh herbs, and vinegar is frequently eaten with Lechon.