This lechon belly is an oven roasted pork belly rolled and stuffed with herbs and spices. This is sometimes known as Cebuchon because as far as I know this dish is popular in Cebu city. Unlike the tradition cooking of lechon using a bed of charcoal, roasting it in an oven would make the cooking easier and simpler. But, if you want it to taste like the original boneless lechon Cebu, I would prefer roasting is on a rotating charcoal spit rotisserie if you have one. Another technique on cooking this pork belly is brining the meat. Brine is a salt solution that is use to brine meat by skilled chef to enhance the flavor and moisture of the meat. Although brine is only composed of water and salt, which is enough to make the meat more savory and moist, adding herbs and spices to the brine will make it even more savory and delicious! Try it I’m sure you will love it.
Cooking lechon belly is easier than cooking the whole lechon and some people say that it is more tasty than the whole roasted pig because the flavor is absorbed by the meat by marinating and stuffing it with aromatics and spices. There are also varied techniques in cooking this lechon belly. The instructions here is wrapping it in aluminum foil and roasting it in the oven for 2 hours then removing the foil and roasting it for another hour. The reason is the foil will prevent burning the skin while still raw inside. Covering it will insure that the meat is cooked inside and crispy crackling skin outside. You can also boil the pork belly on its marinade before roasting to shorten its cooking time. There are also some alternatives if oven is not available. You can use turbo broiler and a stove top oven but you need longer cooking time.
How to Cook Boneless Lechon Belly
- 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 of lemon grass
- 1 stalk on leeks
- 1 pc onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
For the milk wash:
- 3 Tbsp. evaporated milk
- 1 Tbsp. water
How to Cook Boneless 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 brush it with milk/water mixture. Cover with aluminum foil.
- Place in a preheated oven 190°C and roast for 2 hours. Then after 2 hours, remove the foil, brush again with milk/water mixture and 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.