Make Your Own Lechon Belly at Home
Known as the star of festivities in the Philippines, the lechon, without any doubt, is a favorite among Pinoy foodies. Cebu has always been known as the archipelago’s Lechon Capital and, as if to prove their point, has come up with artisan lechon for every taste. Even places near Cebu have their own take on this delicious centerpiece dish. In the city of Borongan in Samar, a lechon festival is even celebrated every year.
Cooking the lechon can be a bit tricky. It is traditionally cooked by roasting a whole suckling pig over very hot coals. While the entire lechon can actually be eaten, head and tail included, there are picky eaters who can stomach no more than the belly, which is why lechon belly is sold all over Cebu and its neighboring islands as an alternative for when you just want a taste of this traditional food but not willing to commit to eating the ears, snout, feet, or tail.
A good lechon belly recipe is definitely worth knowing, in case you want to prepare one for your family, may there be a special occasion or not.
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Here’s an easy-to-follow lechon belly recipe you can always do at home.
Lechon Belly Recipe
- 1 whole pork belly (no ribs)
- Ground black pepper
- 1 cup calamansi juice
- 1 head of garlic crushed
- 6 stalks lemon grass
- Black peppercorns
- Chopped onion chives
- Baker’s twine
- Wash the pork belly properly, then pat dry. With the pork skin facing up, poke with a knife or fork for good crackling. Rub salt and pepper on skin and flesh for flavor, then let rest for half an hour.
- Marinate the belly in calamansi and crushed garlic and let rest for another 30 minutes or so.
- Preheat oven at 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Lay out the belly on a pan, stuff with lemongrass, onion chives, and black peppercorns. Make sure that the lemon grass stalks are laid out from one end to another to maximize flavor.
- Roll the belly and secure with baker’s twine.
- Bake for no less than 3 hours but no more than 5 hours. Check to make sure that the skin is crispy, but the meat is tender.
- Remove from oven every now and then to turn and baste with the same sauces used while marinating. Once cooked, brush over with a bit of oil and the remainder of the marinade to make the skin look shinier.