How do you recreate the tasty and addicting party favorite dish that everyone always looks forward to? Well there’s really no need to prepare a whole pig to clean, or a need to make a big fire or heat up enough charcoal to make the crispy iconic pig dish that everyone even people outside of the Philippines is known for. All you need is a slab of pork belly, some spices that you can usually find in any Filipino household, and some patience for boiling and baking, and your sure to enjoy your way into a crispy, savory, pact full of flavor dish that you might even include this more than once in your monthly menu rotation.
How Lechon came to be everyone’s crown pleasing party dish?
Lechon is actually one of the many Spanish influenced dishes that we have remolded to Filipino tastes and have been enjoying since. Lechon is derived from the word ‘leche’ which is the Spanish word for milk. This is because the origin of the dish used young pigs that were still nursing milk from their mother since young pigs have tender meat compared to when they’ve grown. They are also sweeter and seen as cleaner because they have just been drinking milk from their mother. But while the Lechon’s popularity increased many cooks decided to use bigger pigs. This resulted into a spit roasted pig slowly rotisserie over open coals. Lechon is also a popular food in Spain, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic as well as Austromesian regions where pig roasting is a tradition.
Each Filipino household has their own recipe for making this dish. The lechon also called ‘lichon’ or ‘inihaw na baboy’ a general term for ‘charcoal roasted or barbequed pig’. The traditional way lechon is made is usually composed burning the hair of the pig, cleaning it inside and out, stuffing it with aromatics like bay leaves, lemongrass, garlic and many more depending on your choice of flavorings. Tied and rotated in a open fire for 4 to 5 hours till the skin is crisp and are finally this big pig, a whole lechon is usually tended by 3 to 5 men as you need manpower to carry the pig in each process and to stand guard and rotate the pig properly. This is then ceremoniously placed over banana leaves in the center of the table being the ‘main character’ that’s then proceeded to be cut and sliced and served to the eldest to the youngest of the family.
While there are many ways one cooks the lechon there are 2 major methods people consider as the ‘Manila Lechon’ also known as the ‘Luzon Lechon’ and ‘Cebu lechon’ or ‘Visayas lechon’. The Visayan lechon is stuffed with scallions, bay leaves, garlic, salt, black peppercorn, lemongrass, tamarind and other spices. Hiligaynon people also stuff the pig with sour fruits. The pig is then cooked over charcoal made from coconut husks, served with a dipping sauce made of salt, vinagas, soy sauce, labuyo chili and calamansi. For the Luzon Lechon, it usually has a minimal seasoning of salt and pepper and has a distinctive liver based sauce called ‘lechon sauce’ made from vinegar, salt, pepper, brown sugar, and mashed liver, garlic, onion, and breadcrumbs. These are typically cooked over wood fire.
While Lechon are very much so popular in the Philippines are usually bought or cooked for special occasions like birthdays, holidays, milestones like weddings, and anniversaries, parties, fiestas and many more celebrations. But with this recipe below, the lechon pork belly is so easy and the outcome is so worth it that you’ll find yourself wondering when the next weekend is to recreate the dish to enjoy it with friends and family.
In this recipe you’ll just need a minimum of a few ingredients without breaking the bank as well as your back from carrying a huge pig. All you need is a slab of pork belly, a few spices, an hour or so of boiling and baking and you’ll be surprised to see how flavorful this outcome of this dish can be.
Lechon Pork BellyCourse: MainCuisine: Filipino
A party favorite that everyone will be rushing to get a bite of.
water for boiling
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon whole black pepper
7 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 medium onion (sliced)
2 bay leaves
2 pieces star anise
- Pork belly
2000 grams pork belly
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
2 medium onions (sliced)
7 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2-3 stalks lemongrass
5-7 stalks green onions
1-2 tablespoons salt
- For the Stock
- In a pot at medium heat, pour enough water to cover the pork belly.
- Add salt, black pepper, garlic, onion, bay leaves, and star anise. Bring this to a boil and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
- For the pork
- Clean the pork with water. With the meat part facing up, slice halfway diagonally. Repeat on the other side to make a crisscross pattern.
- Spread the 1 tablespoon salt, and pepper, for the onions, garlic spread this around but also try to place these in-between the slices. Spread the sugar and soy sauce. Making sure to pack this in.
- Place the lemongrass with the end crushed and the green onions one end of the pork and start rolling this from one end to the other. Roll as tight as you can.
- Use a clean twine to tie these all together.
- Rub 1-2 tablespoons of salt all over the skin.
- Add this to the stock. Boiling this for 1 to 1 and ½ hours. Making sure to remove the scum as you flip this every 25-30 minutes.
- Take this out and let it cool to room temperature before covering it in foil and leaving it in the fridge for 2 hours to overnight.
- After cooling this in the fridge. You can also place this in another pan and bake this in a 200°C or 390°F preheated oven for 1-2 hours. Or till the skin turns crispy. You can also flip this while baking to make sure all the sides are crunchy.
- Slice and serve with soy sauce mixed with sili.
Lechon Pork Belly recipe (tagalog)
- Para sa Stock
- Tubig pang kulo
- 1 kutsaritang asin
- 1 kutsaritang buong paminta
- 7 butil ng bawang (tadtad)
- 1 sibuyas (hiniwa)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 piraso star anise
Para sa Pork Belly
- 2000 gramo ng pork belly
- 1 kutsarang asin
- 1 kutsarang paminta
- 2 sibuyas na (hiniwa)
- 7 butil ng bawang (tadtad)
- 1/3 tasa kayumangging asukal
- 2 kutsarang soy sauce
- 2-3 tanglad
- 5-7 dahon ng sibuyas
- 1-2 kutsarang asin
Para sa Stock
- Sa isang malaking palayok na maykatamtamang init, magdagdag ng sapat na tubig para matakpan ang pork belly.
- Ihalo ditto ang asin, paminta, bawang, sibuyas, bay leaves, at star anise. Pakuluan ito at iwasin na kumukulo ng 30 na minuto.
Para sa Pork Belly
- Linisin ang pork belly ng tubig. Iharap ang karne ng pork belly, hiwain ng di gaanong kadiin na padayagonal. Ulitin ito pakabila para makagawa ng criss cross na pattern.
- Ipahid ang 1 kutsarang asin at paminta. Para sa sibuyas at bawang ipahid at ilagay ito sa gitna ng mga hiwa. Ipahid ang asukal at soy sauce.
- Ilagay ang tanglad na binudbod ang dulo kasama ang dahon ng sibuyas sa isang dulo ng pork belly, at irolyo hanggang sa isang dulo. Irolyo ng mahigpit.
- Gumamit ng twine para itali ang lahat ng ito.
- Kuskusin ang balat ng 1-2 kutsarang asin.
- Ilagay ito sa stock. Pakuluin ito ng 1 oras o 1 at ½ oras. Siguraduhing na tinatangalan ito ng dumi pag binabaliktad ng 25-30 na minuto.
- Tanggalin ito at palamigin bago takpan ng foil at iwanin ito sa ref ng 2 oras o magdamag.
- Pagkatapos palamigin pwede ito ilipat sa panibagong pan at iluto sa oben ng 200°C o 390°F na init ng 1-2 oras o hangang maging krispy ang balat. Pwede din ibaliktad ito habang nasa oben para masigurado na ang bawat gilid ay krispy.
- Hatiin at ihanda kasama ang soy sauce na may sili.