Lechon is probably the most popular dish in the Philippines, Filipinos love parties and get-together and roasting a whole suckling pig. It is not a proper fiesta if there is no lechon.
I can remember my dad inviting to get-togethers and sitting patiently by the roasting pit and slowly turning the pig.
Lechon has become a generic term for roasted pig and pork belly is often used for an everyday Lechon
Lechon Cebuano is know to be one of the better ones in the Philippines, There are local varieties in Cebu also and some guard their recipe, but in the end it is a matter of finding your favorite.The basic recipe for the stuffing involves mostly aromatic spices such as lemongrass, native Cebu onions, peppercorns and garlic The secret lies in the exact quantities to use and which of those ingredients are used in combination together.
Here is one recipe
1 kg pork belly slab, skin on
1 Liter of water
2 whole garlic bulbs, peeled and roughly chopped
1 thumb sixe piece of fresh ginger roughly chopped
3-4 lemongrass stalks,
100 g tamarind pulp/paste
2.3 stalk scallion
2-3 tbsp salt
2 crushed pepper
Combine water, one bulb of roughly chopped garlic, the ginger, one roughly chopped lemmongrass, tamarind paste and some pepper in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. When it is boiling turn down the heat and let the liquid cool.
Rub the pork with 1-2 tablespoon salt. Place the pork in a container and pour the cooled mixture into the container.
Cover the container and put it in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
Cut lemongrass and scallions and place them in a row on the meat side of the pork belly, top with one bulb minced garlic and some salt and pepper.
Roll the slab and tie it together with butcher’s twine.
With a paring knife or fork, poke the skin of the meat. This will ensure a nice crackling. Rub a little salt on the skin.
Cover the belly roll with aluminum foil and bake it in the oven for 6 hours on 150 C
Remove the foil and increase the temperature to 220 C, and allow the pork’s crackling to form. This will take another 30 minutes to an hour.
When done, remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit before slicing. Enjoy!