Lechon baboy (litson/letson) or whole roasted pig is considered as a traditional Filipino recipe. It is the Philippines’ most loved delicacy. It is usually featured in typical Filipino picture on rural areas roasting whole pig on bamboo pole. Any Filipino occasion cannot be considered as extravagant without Lechon baboy offered in the table. Because lechon has always been a part of Filipino culture, there are lots of festivities that promote it.
In Batangas, particularly in Balayan, they commemorate their Patron Saint John the Baptist on June 24 while showcasing crispy lechon. During the commemoration day, a mass is held at Immaculate Conception Church. The main event of the town fiesta includes a parade of at least 50 lechon as part of celebration. While Batanguenos are known for their lechon festival, other places in the Philippines are also known for their versions of cooking lechon. In Manila, particularly in Laloma, known as Lechon capital of the Philippines, you can find 50 small and big retailers of lechon. “Mang Tomas”, “Aling Lydia’s Lechon” and “Pinpin’s Lechon” are the most popular lechon supplier in the place.
Preparing a whole lechon would take a lot of effort. If you are planning to cook lechon for yourself, I would advice that you hire a slaughterer to slaughter and clean the whole pig. You can also do it with only the head part, belly, thighs and legs so that it won’t be that difficult for you. In this page, I will give you tips on how to do it at your home. We will be using the pig’s belly for this course. The belly part would be the best part to make lechon.
- pork belly, specifically cut 10×20 inches, no bones/ribs
- lemon grass
- 3 medium size onions, sliced
- 2 entire bulbs of garlic, crushed
- spring onions, do not slice
- 5 tbsp peppercorns
- 2 tbsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk
You would also need tie wire, enough to tie up the belly when rolled. And bamboo, the tip part of it would be perfect. You can also use a metal skewer that is enough for the whole belly to hold.
Lechon Cooking Procedure:
Clean the pork belly, set it aside for the water to drain. If the pork is ready, season the belly with salt, and ground pepper. Place in lemon grass, garlic, onions, peppercorns and spring onions. Make sure to distribute it equally to the belly. Roll the belly over the bamboo skewer with the seasonings rolled in the inside. Tie it up with the tie wires in order to secure the belly into its position.
Mix the coke/pepsi with the evaporated milk. Add a little salt for it to have a salty taste. Spread it evenly all over the skin. Now make a set up where you can cook the belly over a charcoal and turning it in a rotisserie action. Don’t put to much to much charcoal. It is best to cook it slowly so that it would be cooked properly without burning down the skin. It would take about an hour and half to cook it.
After 30 minutes over the charcoal, start to spread some oil on the skin. Do it regularly, about 15-20 minutes interval. After an hour of cooking, raise up the cooking temperature by adding up some charcoal. With this technique, a crispy lechon skin would result. When the lechon is cooked, sliced it then plate it and serve. Enjoy.