DIY: Pork Belly Lechon / Porchetta Simplified
DIY l Not For My Muslim Friends
Cooking Pork Belly Lechon
I am among those generations who have witnessed instantaneous changes on trends in technologies, among others. Same like how bloggers came to prominence and are now competing with the mainstream media, in terms of reach and influence.
On the other hand, going now to food industry. I also have witnessed how the so-called veterans in the world of cooking, being dwarfed by the multitude of new self-trained cooks and wannabes. Just like how the once popular Pinili Lechon in our hometown in Dumaguete City, Philippines being taken over by new comers in the field.
Social Media is the culprit, if I were to look for who’s to blame.
On my part now, I basically got the inspiration and the learning from Social Media. I have friends who are into this thing as well, as their additional source of income, but unfortunately, I haven’t got the interest of asking for their recipe. That is also to respect the secrecy of their “trade secrets” kind of thing. Until one cold winter weekend in Dubai.
I bought a 2-3 kg of belly from the nearby supermarket, seasoned it with the available ingredients. The next thing happened? The family’s eating a crispy Pork Belly Lechon.
Pork In A Muslim Country?
Yes. Dubai or the UAE is an open country. But this doesn’t mean you can simply buy, cook or just eat anywhere. You have to be mindful at all times. Like in select supermarkets, there really is a designated closed corner with “Not for Muslims” signage where you can find frozen pork displays. Don’t try roasting or grilling them in public places like parks or you’ll end up fined. The best way to cook your pork is in your home. And don’t expect to have them in regular restaurants unless you are in a hotel restaurant.
1 slab of 2-3 kg frozen pork belly
Abaca butcher’s string
Half a cup of rock salt
Half a cup of peppercorn
Lemongrass (6-8 stalks)
Bay leaves (15 pcs or more)
Red onions (4 pcs or more)
Spring onions (10 big bulbs or more)
Garlic (2 big bulbs or more)
The Most Practical Way Of Preparing Your Pork Belly Lechon
- After belly is completely thawed, sporadically slit the inner part of the would be pork belly lechon.
- Sprinkle the rock salt and rub all over it. Same goes for the crushed peppercorns, garlic and lemongrass; chopped red onions, and the spring onions and bay leaves.
- Roll it up tightly with the abaca butcher’s string
- Refrigerate it for a night (ideally)
- Pre-heat the oven to 200c, then bring to 160c 5 minutes before putting the belly inside
- Cook it for 3 to 3 1/2 hours
- Put back to 200c 5 minutes before removing from the oven
- Rest for 10 minutes then ready for the crunching
To Filipinos, Pork Belly Lechon is best with freshly cooked white rice and eating by hand. Now for the sauce. For non-Filipinos, let me give you this tip. For the people from up north, they are into “sarsa” or gravy sauce but for people from the south like me, it is best with “suka” (vinegar) with or without “toyo” (soy sauce) then “siling labuyo” (cayenne pepper) with chopped tomatoes, onions and garlic.
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