Monday, July 6, 2009

Lechon Sa Hurno (Oven Roasted Pork)

Recently, the Philippine Lechon has gained international recognition when a well known TV personality, chef, food lover and traveller Anthony Bourdain, of the famous food and travel series “No Reservation” declares “It can now be said that of all the whole roasted pigs I've had all over the world, the slow roasted lechon I had on Cebu was the best. This puts the standings in the Hierarchy of Pork as follows: 1. Philippines, 2. Bali and 3. Puerto Rico”. This declaration has led to the Time Magazines’ article listing Cebu Lechon as one of this year’s “Best of Asia”.

Who would not be proud of that? Regardless of whether you are from Cebu or from any other part of the country having your own distinct way of preparing Lechon, this honour is for you, for the whole Filipino nation who has long been struggling to gain international recognition and appreciation for our unique cuisine.

I believe it is safe to assume that all Filipinos have strong fascination with Lechon. Even those who are medically restricted to eat it have, at some points in their lives enjoyed it. It is one of the most important dishes in every fiesta celebration, holiday festivity or special occasion. By its mere addition to the menu, the gathering will be immediately transformed into an extraordinary occasion.
In fact, some celebrations are considered incomplete without Lechon on the centre table. Be it the popular and tasty “Cebu Lechon”, the affordable and readily available “Lechon La Loma”, the juicy Lechon of San Pedro, Laguna or the golden-red and crispy ones they parade in Balayan, Batangas.

In order to satisfy our cravings for this iconic dish while living far from home, all we can do is to cook one by ourselves. Since a whole pig will be too much for a small group of 6, Lechon pork head will be a sufficient alternative which we can easily prepare in the kitchen oven.
To re-create a “Lechon Ulo ng Baboy” (roasted pork head), we shall need half of pig’s head about 3.5 kls, thoroughly cleaned and pat dried with paper towels. We thought the whole head (about 7 kilos) would still be too much for us.
Pre-heat oven to 180 ˚C (350 ˚F or Gas Mark No. 4). Liberally season the pork head all over with about 2 tsp of salt. Place in a pan and cover the ear with a foil to avoid being burnt early on.

Place it inside the oven, close the cover and cook for about 5 ½ hours. It needs around 1 hr and 30 minutes cooking time per kilogram of the meat. On the last hour, remove the ear cover, increase the heat to 220 ˚C (425 ˚F or Gas Mark No. 7) and brush the skin with oil drippings from the pan every 10 minutes to assure the crispiness.

Continue roasting until golden brown and skin is very crispy. Remove from the oven and let stand for several minutes.

Cut into serving sizes and place into a large platter. Serve with your favourite Lechon sauce or any other sauce you like. At this point we realized we are wrong in deciding to cook only half of the head. The results might hardly satisfy 6 very hungry and deeply Lechon–craving expats.

I kid you not. The way this Lechon came out has exceeded my expectations. The skin is so crispy and tasty. The meat is so delicious, juicy and succulent. I recommend that you try doing this at home. It is easy and worthwhile. No need to approach your local bakery to do the roasting. Don’t wait for the next grand occasion to have a decent Lechon in your meal. Postpone calorie counting until the next day. You won’t regret it. c“,)


  1. another "yummy"-licious one! bravo..... clap,cla,clap............

  2. super HOT post.....yummy-licious..bravo, clap, clap, clap!

  3. Merry Christmas! Have you tried using another pig part? I don't think my Brit husband would like to see half a pig head... Thank you!!!

  4. Hi Mumsie, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. You can substitute a huge slab of pork belly in lieu of pig head. We have done that last Christmas eve. My wife, kids and other family members won't eat pig head as well. :-)

  5. wooowww! mag luluto ako nito ngayong x'mas.kaya lang ang tagal nang 5houres mahigit.pero try ko. kasi miss kna ring kumain nang letchon,sana maganda ang paka luto ko.good lock for me.



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