First of all, Happy New Year to everyone! I hope you all had a great holiday season. Speaking of holidays, over this past Christmas, I heard from a couple of my friends about how they satisfied their craving for a Philippine style “whole roasted pig” dish by tasting the most delicious Filipino Pork Belly Lechon cooked in the oven. Eventually, a friend of theirs found an innovative way of cooking our beloved Filipino Lechon by using just the pork belly part of the pig and cooking it using an oven, inside her house in the middle of winter! I got so excited about it, that I can not wait to try it myself.
Then another friend of mine showed how he did his “Lechon Liempo” or “Roasted Pork Belly” and I was literally drooling over the pictures. Though I asked my friends for their recipes, I still have not received from any of them, unfortunately. I understand completely if they want to keep their recipes to themselves but I remember that I had pictures of how our local pig roasters had prepared the pigs that my family served when I’m home. So I dug my files and studied them. Unfortunately, most of these pig roasters just eyeball the ingredients, the heat temperature of the coals that they used to cook as well as the length of time to cook the whole pig. More or less, a medium sized pig takes about 3-4 hours to cook in hot coals. So, there’s my dilemma! Thanks to my dear husband who enlightened me, that the way I should cook it, should be the same way as I have been cooking roast pork or roast beef in the oven! After all, they are the same rolled chunk of meat! Oh yeah, how brilliant!
Tonight, that time arrived and honestly, it was worth it! Sorry but I was so excited to cook this dish that I didn’t bother to document the steps with pictures. I only documented the finished product! If you like to try this dish, check the ingredients and the recipe at the end of this post.
The taste was just like our whole roasted pig/lechon back home. The meat was soft and juicy. Oh my gosh, the skin was crackling and crispy, you can hear that quick snap when you cut it! Hahaha…you can tell how giddy I feel ha!
I strongly recommend this to anyone who might be longing the taste of our ROASTED PIG/LECHON back home. This is an easier and faster way to cure that desire for a food that is so familiar yet so hard to find. Just don’t do it so often, okay? Enjoy!!!!
INGREDIENTS: Boneless Pork Belly with skin intact.
Garlic, onions, green onions/scallions (missing on my pic), lemongrass, salt, soy sauce. (Eyeball these ingredients depending on your meat’s size)
1) Pre-heat oven at 375 degrees F Bake.
2) Brush the inside of the pork belly with soy sauce. Let it rest.
3) Prepare the garlic, onions, green onions/scallions (missing on my pic), lemongrass, salt. Just eyeball this ingredients depending on the size of your meat but you need a lot!
4) Stuff and roll then tie it with kitchen twine about an inch apart.
5) Brush the outside of the meat with soy sauce, to give the skin that dark color.
6) Put in a baking/broiler pan preferably with a slotted top, so that the fat/juice stay at the bottom pan.
7) Put your baking pan in the middle rack of your oven, BAKE in 375 degrees F, until the skin darkened and the clear juice started dripping.
8) Use a meat thermometer to test the inside of the meat and it should register about 165F for it to be cooked/done.
9) Turn off the BAKE mode, transfer your baking pan into the bottom rack of your oven and turn on BROIL, with your OVEN DOOR OPEN, to make the skin crispy/crunchy. Skip this if you like.
10) Rest the cooked meat for about 10 minutes before you cut/slice it.
Disclosure: I may have omitted (or maybe not) some ingredients or steps, on this recipe. This is my Americanized way of cooking it, so, experiment! Though basically, this recipe used the same ingredients back home since I documented them with pictures. It’s hard to correctly measure the ingredients considering that we’re only roasting a pork belly instead of the whole pig, so ADJUST them to suit your taste. That way on your next try, if you think it needs some tweaking, you will get your perfect taste. Then your tummy will be very happy!!! Hahaha…Enjoy my friends…So happy to share this with you. This literally have cured for now, the craving for that lechon taste of home!