Filipino Lechon Pork Belly
Lechon is the quintessential Filipino dish that by far, tops any list when it comes to anything related to Filipino cooking. Lechon is a whole roasted pig that is cooked slowly over hot charcoals, creating a salty and crispy skin on the outside, as well as soft, succulent and spicy meat on the inside. Cooking lechon can be very difficult and time consuming, unlike western roasts that require just simple salt and pepper when roasting, or maybe a barrage of spice powders in order to create a delectable taste, making lechon requires a careful combination of salt and selection of aromatic herbs.
The herbs used in lechon are specifically chosen because they can easily permeate the layers of meat and fat within the pork, imparting an irresistible odor as well as a very delectable taste. Nothing gets more native and traditional than lechon and I highly recommend that you taste it at least once in your life, knowing that many well-respected chefs and food critics, including, Anthony Bourdain, considers lechon as the best form of roasted pork in the world.
Cooking the lechon also requires a lot of skill and patience. It requires that you know how to control the charcoals, making sure that it does not cook the exterior first but that it allows the meat to tenderize and cook on the inside properly. Of course, later on, you will need to make sure that the pork’s skin will caramelize and crisp-up nicely during the end of the cooking process. With that said, cooking up a lechon is no easy task, aside from taking as much as an hour for preparation and as much as 3-4 hours of cooking, it also needs a lot of manual labor to cook the pork evenly.
Fortunately, there is an easier way for you to cook lechon without having to wrestle and cook a whole pig. You can cook lechon belly instead, using a whole slab of pork and get similar results. You can cook lechon belly in the oven, on a rotisserie or on charcoal. You can also cook it in a turbo broiler for added convenience. Cooking lechon belly requires a 3-step process. You need to brine the pork belly overnight, cook the meat and then crisp-up the skin. Click here for how you can cook your own lechon belly at home.
Post provided by regular Live To Eat guest blogger Jan H.