Delicious Oven-Roasted Lechon Belly Recipe
Lechon Belly, a succulent oven-roasted pork belly rolled and stuffed with herbs and spices, is a delectable dish popularly known as “Cebuchon” due to its origins in the vibrant city of Cebu. Traditionally, this mouthwatering delicacy is prepared over a bed of charcoal, but the convenience of roasting it in an oven has made the cooking process easier and more accessible. In this recipe blog post, we will explore the art of preparing a flavorful and moist Lechon Belly, along with various techniques to achieve that authentic Cebuano taste.
The Charcoal Spit Rotisserie vs. Oven: A Debate of Convenience and Flavor
While using a rotating charcoal spit rotisserie undoubtedly imparts a unique smoky flavor, roasting Lechon Belly in an oven offers unparalleled convenience and simplicity. The oven evenly cooks the meat and ensures that the skin does not burn on one side. For those seeking a true taste of boneless Lechon Cebu, the traditional charcoal method remains a top choice, but the oven rotisserie is a practical alternative that yields equally delicious results.
Brining: Elevating Flavor and Moisture
An essential technique in cooking Lechon Belly is brining the meat. Brine, a simple solution of water and salt, works wonders in enhancing the meat’s flavor and retaining its moisture. By adding a blend of herbs and spices to the brine, you can elevate the dish to a whole new level of savoriness and deliciousness. Let’s explore this method and discover how it contributes to the overall taste of the Lechon Belly.
Marination and Stuffing: The Secrets to Irresistible Flavor
Unlike the whole roasted pig, Lechon Belly offers the advantage of absorbing flavors more effectively due to its smaller size. Marinating and stuffing the pork belly with aromatic herbs and spices infuse the meat with a rich and savory taste. We’ll delve into various marination techniques and stuffing ideas that will take your Lechon Belly to gastronomic heights.
Cooking the Perfect Lechon Belly: Step-by-Step Guide
Now, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of cooking the perfect Lechon Belly in your oven. We’ll walk you through the preparation, cooking time, and essential tips to ensure your dish turns out succulent with a crispy crackling skin, leaving your guests craving for more.
Foil Wrapping: Preserving Moisture and Preventing Burns
One of the key techniques in oven-roasting Lechon Belly is foil wrapping. The foil acts as a shield, preventing the skin from burning while ensuring the meat cooks thoroughly. Learn the art of foil wrapping to achieve that coveted balance of tender, juicy meat and a tantalizingly crispy skin.
Time-Saving Alternative: Boiling before Roasting
For those pressed for time, boiling the pork belly in its marinade before roasting can significantly reduce the cooking time. We’ll explore this alternative method, and you’ll be amazed at how it can still deliver a mouthwatering Lechon Belly, albeit with a slight variation in texture and taste.
Adapting to Different Cooking Appliances
What if you don’t have access to an oven? Fear not! We’ll share alternative cooking methods using a turbo broiler and stove top oven. While these appliances may require longer cooking times, the delightful outcome will be worth the wait.
Indulging in the luscious flavors of Lechon Belly is a gastronomic adventure that takes you straight to the heart of Cebu’s culinary heritage. Whether you opt for the oven-roasted version or go the traditional route with a charcoal spit rotisserie, the succulent meat and crispy skin will leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.
Experiment with the Marinades
Experiment with different brining techniques, marinades, and stuffing variations to create your signature Lechon Belly recipe. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and embark on this delightful culinary journey to savor the taste of Cebu’s finest delicacy – Lechon Belly. Want to try a chicken version of lechon? Check this lechon manok recipe!
How to Cook Lechon Belly (Boneless Lechon)
- 2 kilos whole pork belly slab remove the bones if any
For the marinade-brine:
- 1 stalk of lemon grass chopped
- 1 stalk leeks chopped
- 2 pieces of laurel bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp. ground black peppercorn
- 5 cloves garlic crushed
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup rock salt
- 5 cups of water
For the stuffings:
- 1 stalk lemon grass
- 1 stalk leeks
- 1 pc onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
For the skin rub:
- 1/4 cup rock salt for rubbing the skin
How to Cook Lechon Belly:
- Wash and clean the pork belly slab in running water. Drain.
- In a medium size pot, prepare the brine by combining the water, lemon grass, leeks, bay leaves, pepper corns, garlic, sugar and salt.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes to release the aroma and flavor of the herbs and spices. Turn off heat and let it cool.
- Put the pork belly slab and submerge in the flavored brine and place in a refrigerator. Let it soak overnight for best result.
- After brining, wash the pork belly in running water and pat dry.
- Place the pork belly in a flat surface and place in the center the stuffings: lemon grass, leeks, garlic and onion.
- Roll the pork belly like a jelly roll and tie it with twine until it is secured and will not open up and spill the stuffing.
- To make the lechon skin even more crispy and have a crackling skin, do this extra step: Poke a paring knife or fork on the skin. Rub salt all over the skin and meat then place the pork belly in a refrigerator to chill for few hours.
- Place the pork belly in a roasting pan with a rack and cover with aluminum foil.
- Place in a preheated oven 190°C and roast for 2 hours. Then after 2 hours, remove the foil, continue roasting for another hour until the skin is crispy. Serve hot.
- In case the skin is not yet crackling crispy, extend the cooking time to 45 minutes to 1 hour and raise the temperature to 220°C.
Cooking Tips of Lechon Belly Recipe:
- Prioritize Brining: Brining the pork belly in a saltwater solution infused with herbs and spices before cooking is a crucial step to enhance the meat's flavor and ensure its tenderness and juiciness.
- Master the Foil Wrapping Technique: When roasting the lechon belly in the oven, wrapping it in foil during the initial cooking stages will prevent the skin from burning while allowing the meat to cook thoroughly, resulting in a perfect balance of crispy skin and succulent meat.
- Opt for a Rotisserie if Possible: While an oven can yield delicious results, if available, using a rotating charcoal spit rotisserie will impart a distinct smoky flavor, closely resembling the authentic taste of boneless lechon Cebu.