This Pork belly Lechon is an alternative from a whole roasted pig. Crispy pork skin, tasty inner meat, is rated 5 stars in my book.
Pork Belly Lechon
Pork Belly Lechon actually originated in Cebu City- a place where I went to college, met my husband, and got married. It’s also a place where we built our first house, so I’m kinda proud that so many Filipinos around the world have been cooking this.
This Cebu-style Lechon became my kids’ fav. when we went home before the pandemic. they can’t get enough of it, so this year, we served it at our New Year’s eve dinner.
This oven-roasted pork belly is the Filipino version of porchetta. In Cebu, it’s avidly called Cebuchon- a word combination of Cebu and Lechon.
What is Lechon belly?
Lechon means roast. In this case, we use pork belly meat slabs as the main ingredient and roast them for a long time to achieve a slice of juicy and tender meat.
In the Philippines, it is common to use a whole pig to make Lechon. I remember the neighbor roasting a whole pig from the wee hour in the morning to nighttime. Throughout the process, you can hear crispy crackling skin popping in unison with the juice dripping and you can whiff spice aroma on the air. But cooking a whole Lechon will be too cumbersome, so let’s use pork belly slab instead.
Obviously, pork belly roll is an easier version to satisfy our Lechon belly cravings.
- Convection oven
- sharp knife or paring knife- you need a sharp knife to slice the meat.
- Paper Towels- this is used to pat dry the skin and after slicing clean up.
- Kitchen twine- this is used to tie the belly roll in place.
Pork belly Lechon roll Ingredients
- Boneless pork belly- without the bones, it is easy to roll the belly. In this recipe, I used 5 kilograms of pork belly.
- Red onion- you can use white or yellow onion, but I suggest using red onions as it has a stronger flavor than the former.
- Garlic powder- it adds taste to the meat.
- Onion powder- although optional, I suggest using this to enhance red onion taste.
- Ground pepper- I used Kosher salt to rub the skin, but iodized salt works well. It adds flavor.
- Rock or sea salt – rub the skin with sea salt or kosher salt.
- Cooking oil – brushing the skin with oil is optional.
- Green onions are my replacement for lemongrass stalk. Lemongrass, for me, has an aftertaste that I am not fond of.
Lechon Belly Recipe
This Lechon Belly Roll is the only Lechon belly recipe you need. Here’s how to make it.
Prepare your oven: Place the roasting rack in the middle of your convection oven. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Prepare the meat: Place the whole pork belly slab on a flat surface. Pat dry skin with paper towels. Rub salt on both sides of the meat and place the herbs on one end of the pork belly slab.
Roll the pork belly and tie it with kitchen twine.
Bake/oven roast: Place the roasting pan on a flat surface and settle the pork belly roll in the middle. Put the roasting pan in the preheated oven. Keep slow roasting or bake for four to 4 hours.
- What is pork belly in Tagalog- Pork is baboy and belly is tiyan in Tagalog, so it’s called Tiyan ng Baboy in Tagalog.
- Does the pork belly get softer the longer you cook it? Roasting the pork belly for a long time does make the meat as the heat breaks down the fiber. It also makes the meat flavorful as the spices seep through the meat and it soften.
- Is pork belly a good cut for the meat? I love pork belly, although it’s not the healthiest part. Since it has of lean and fatty ribbon, for me, it’s the tastiest and juices.::
Tips to achieve Crispy Lechon Skin
- The secret to making crispy, crackling skin is to broil it after baking. Move the roasting rack to the lowest level of your oven and broil for fifteen minutes. I promise this oven-roasted pork belly is worth the hard work and waiting time.
Serving Suggestions for this Cebu style Lechon
- Slice with a sharp knife and make sure a paper towel is on hand to wipe the juice oozing out from the meat.
- Soy sauce with garlic- this is a dipping sauce that’s simple.
- Mang Tomas Lechon sauce- homemade or store-bought Lechon sauce is good either way.
How to store
- This is a large serving fit for a crowd. If you are making this for your family, there’s a possibility of some leftovers.
- Refrigerate leftover in the sealed container and for 3 days.
- Place the leftovers in the Ziploc and freeze. It will be good for six months
- Cook leftovers using this Steamed Pork Belly recipe.
For more pork belly delicious recipes
- Roasting Pan
- Kitchen twine
- 4 lbs pork belly slab Just double the reipe if using more
- 5 stalks green onion
- 5 pieces dry basil leave
- 1 head garlic crushed or chopped
- 2 tablespoons iodized salt divided
- 1 tablespoon ground pepper, divided divided
- 1 tablespoons onion powder,divided
- 1 tablespoons garlic powder, divided
- 2 tablespoons Canola oil
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Place the roasting rack in the middle of the oven.
- Clean pork belly slab and pat dry with paper towels.
- Place the meat onto a flat surface and rub the skin with 1/2 tablespoon of onion and garlic powder and rub the rest into the inner belly meat.
- Lay the belly slab with skin on the flat surface.
- Put all the garlic, red onion, green onion, bay leave at the long end of the belly and roll the slab to form a tube and tie with kitchen twine.
- Rub oil on the meat.
- Arrange pork belly in the middle of the roasting pan and bake belly for four hours.
- After four hours, remove belly from the oven and trasfer the oven rack to the lowest level. Broil the pork belly for fifteen minutes. Keep an eye of the meat since it will burn quickly. Keep on checking the oven.
- Let the belly sit for another 30 minutes before serving.