It is a pork dish in several regions of the world, most specifically Spain and its former colonial possessions throughout the world. Lechon is a suckling pig being roasted. Though it’s a popular food in other country as well, Philippine lechon stands out from other country’s version of roasted hog. According to Anthony Bourdain the host of Travel Channel’s culinary and cultural adventure program Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Philippine lechon tops the Hierarchy of Pork dish in the whole world.
There are varieties of Filipino lechon Recipe however the best tasting one comes from Cebu and other cities in the Southern part of the Philippines. There are lot of reasons why lechon taste heavenly good, the whole pig roast takes a lot of effort to make. It involves choosing the right spices like lemon grass, peppercorn and other condiments. The pig has to be skewered on a bamboo branch over a fire pit using charcoals that involves slow cooking process and constant brushing of special sauce that turns the lechon’s skin into a deliciously glazed, red, crunchy skin in time.
In special occasions like Christmas, New Year and Fiestas lechon is the star, the centrepiece and the most expensive dish. In fact there is a Parada ng Lechon (Parade of Lechon) in Balayan Batanggas that happens every 24th of June. It is a celebration to commemorate St. John, their patron saint. On the event day, a mass is held at the Immaculate Conception Church. After the mass, at least, 50 lechons were on parade. It is a hilarious sight of roast pigs that are dressed according to the theme of the participating social organizations. After the fiesta, the lechons are then brought back to their respective club headquarters or home for yet another celebration of drinking and feasting.
Lechon de Leche
5kg dressed whole suckling pig
2tbsp | 20g black peppercorns
1 head | 8g garlic
2tbsp | 30g of salt
2sprigs | 10g rosemary
2kg lemon grass or enough to stuff pig’s cavity
Oil for basting
- Wash the suckling pig inside and out. Wipe dry with paper towels.
- Grind half of the peppercorns. The remaining peppercorns should stay whole.
- Crush, peel, and mince the garlic. Divide into 2 portions.
- Rub the entire cavity of the pig with salt, crushed peppercorns, and half the garlic. Let it stand for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 180 °C | 350 °F.
- Chop Basil leaves.
- Chop the rosemary.
- Tie the lemongrass in a bundle.
- Stuff the pig’s cavity with the remaining garlic, whole black peppercorns, basil leaves, rosemary and lemongrass.
- Sew cavity opening with kitchen thread using overlapping stitches.
- Brush the skin with oil.
- Roast in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, brushing with oil every 15 minutes for a crisp result. If any part of the pig starts to burn (feet, ears etc.) cover the part with foil.
- Increase the heat to 200 °C | 400 °F and continue to roast for a further 30 minutes or until the skin is golden and crisp.
The making of good roast suckling pig starts with the selection of piglet. Lechon de Leche means that the piglet between the ages of 21-30 days is still suckling.
The ideal sizes for lechon de leche are:
• Age 30 days; Live Weight: approx.
7-7.5 k, Dressed weight: 4.5-5 kg;
• Age 45 days; Live Weight: approx.
8-8.5 k, Dressed weight: 5-5.5 kg;
• Age 60 days; Live Weight: approx.
10.5- 11 k, Dressed weight: 7·8 kg: