Lechon is a staple at Philippine celebrations. Traditionally, a whole pig is roasted over charcoal until the meat is fragrant and tender, the skin crispy. There are regional variations with some opting for a simple salt and pepper seasoning while others add aromatics.
Make this for your next party, guaranteed to make your pork-eating guests begging you for the recipe. This lechon belly is one you can make in your kitchen, all you need is an oven and few hours to spare.
Ideally you want leftovers to make another dish called Lechon Paksiw (lechon meat stewed in a vinegar sauce, one of our all-time favorites) BUT no promises.
*Most likely to disappear from your table first
lechon meat should be fragrant and tender, the skin crispy for hours to come
Crispy Lechon Belly
5 tbs Kusi sisig seasoning
5 lb boneless pork belly slab
1 tbs muscovado or brown sugar
10 cloves garlic, smashed
5 stalks lemongrass, cut in half lengthwise
1 bunch scallions
1/2 tbs salt
Spicy Vinegar Sauce (Sinamak)
*Tip: best made days/weeks ahead to allow the flavors to meld, this will keep indefinitely. No measurements, add what feels right for you
coconut vinegar preferred, other varieties will work
spicy chili peppers, whole
black pepper, whole preferred
1-3 days before cooking, cut a crosshatch pattern on the meat side of the pork belly and season with Kusi + muscovado/brown sugar. You don't need to crosshatch the skin unless you want to achieve this same look.
Leave in the fridge skin side up. This helps the skin dry out to ensure it crisps up during cooking.
Pre-heat oven to 350º F.
On the meat side of the pork, stuff crosshatch with garlic, lemongrass and scallions. Turn over on a rack positioned over a baking sheet so the skin side is up.
Roast 3-4 hours, basting the skin with its own oil drippings every 30 minutes or so.
Once the meat is tender, you can remove from the oven and foil tent until you're almost ready to serve. Or move straight on to the next step.
Turn up the heat to 450º F and roast until skin gets bubbly and crispy about 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and finish with salt. Let rest 15 minutes before carving.
Serve with rice and spicy vinegar dipping sauce.