A Lechon Pork Belly recipe for all you home cooks out there! This homemade lechon is baked for hours until succulently tender. The skin is roasted until crispy and the pork is infused with classic Filipino Cebu Lechon flavors–lemongrass, onions, and garlic.
This is the story of how we made Lechon Pork Belly for our Christmas Noche Buena. Come and cook with us!
Celebrate with Moist and Juicy Lechon Pork Belly
Happy holidays everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful celebration with your loved ones!
Some of life’s best moments happen unplanned
Still hungover from last night’s festivities but here I am excited to share with you how my husband and I decided to make Lechon for our Christmas Noche Buena. Not only did we have fun making it but we were so happy with how crispy and delicious it turned out!
I love everything about it! Tender, crispy, and full-flavored. Just look at how beautiful it is!
First things first, let’s talk about the things you need to make Lechon at home:
- Pork belly – this is the best cut of meat if you’re making homemade Lechon. It’s fatty (flavor!) and meaty at the same time. Use a rectangular piece of boneless pork belly, roughly the right size to be rolled up inside, skin left on. The meat I used is roughly 1.5kg. Just enough for a family of four.
- Seasonings – garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. I happen to have lemongrass powder in my pantry, so I used that as well. It’s totally optional.
- Stuffing – fresh shallots or red onion, garlic, and fresh lemongrass. Sorry, I can’t recommend any other substitutes for these.
- Baste – all you need is oil and soy sauce to make that crispy golden skin.
Homemade Lechon Pork Belly
Brine the pork belly (day1)
Brining the pork belly in this solution overnight. This will infuse the flavor of the spices and will give the meat a wonderful texture.
- lemon grass
- bay leaves
- black peppercorn
Combine everything in a pot, let it boil for a few minutes. Let it cool. Meanwhile, using a sharp small knife, make small shallow cuts all over the flesh, about 1-inch apart. The cuts will allow easy absorption of the seasonings.
Place the pork in a zip bag or large container with a lid. Pour cooled brine solution over the pork. Let it marinate for 1 to 2 days.
Make the rub and prepare the Lechon stuffing (day 2)
On the day of roasting, remove pork from the brine solution then lay on a flat surface skin-side down. Rub the flesh (including the sides and cracks) with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Use your hands and do it generously.
Next, top with slices of shallots and chopped lemongrass. Place remaining bruised stalks of lemongrass (see above photo) in the middle.
Roll – the belly into a tight log then tie with kitchen twine. The husband did this for me, quite wonderfully, if I may say so. We also found this easy to follow video on YouTube to be really helpful.
One tip we can give is to adjust the amount of filling when you find it hard to roll the pork. In our case, we had to remove 1 stalk of lemongrass and a few pieces of onion before we were able to finally roll the pork.
Oven roast the Lechon Belly (day 2)
Baste – once the pork belly is tightly rolled and tied, baste the skin with a mixture of soy sauce and oil to give it a nice golden color. In the next round of basting, you will just need to brush the skin with oil.
Roast – place the pork on a wire rack set over an oven tray. Cover tightly with a foil. Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and cook for 3 hours at 180c/ 350F. Adjust cooking time if using larger cuts of pork.
Remove foil after 3 hours. Baste skin with oil. Place the pork back into the oven and bake another hour until the skin is crisp and golden. And that is it! Remove from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes before slicing.
Boneless Lechon: Serve and Enjoy!
Serve with lechon liver sauce, vinegar dipping sauce, or the soy vinegar sawsawan.
And oh don’t forget the drippings! Skim out the excess oil and use it as sawsawan too! I drizzled mine over warm rice and it was so so good!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
More holiday recipes for you!
- Juicy Lechon Manok
- Homemade Puto Bumbong
- Puto Flan
- Oven-fried Lechon Kawali
- Macaroni Salad
- Baked Macaroni
- Fruit Salad Filipino-Style
- Pork Afritada
- Butter Puto Cheese
- Easy Oven Roasted Chicken
Oven Roasted Pork Belly Lechon
- 1.5 – 2 kg /3-4.5 lbs boneless pork belly (skin on, see note 1)
- 1 whole garlic (peeled and smashed)
- 6 bulbs shallots or 1 whole red onion (sliced)
- 3 stalks lemongrass/ tanglad (bruised)
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp oil
Brine the pork belly
- Place 4 cups water in a pot. Add salt, sugar, bay leaves, lemongrass, garlic, and peppercorn. Cover and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes. Add ice-cold water and let it cool completely.
- Pour the brine in a large roasting pan. Add pork belly. Cover tightly with a plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Make the rub and prepare the stuffing
- Combine all the ingredients for the rub in a small bowl. Set aside. Prepare the stuffing spices–smashed the garlic, slice the onions, and bruise the lemongrass. Cut 2 stalks of the lemongrass into pieces.
- Drain the pork belly and pat dry with a kitchen towel.
- Lay pork on a flat surface skin-side down. Using a sharp small knife, make small shallow cuts all over the flesh, about 1-inch apart. The cuts will allow easy absorption of the seasonings. Massage the flesh, including the sides and cracks with the rub.
- Spread sliced onion and garlic on top. Add stalks of lemongrass in the middle. Roll the belly into a tight log then tie with kitchen twine. We found this easy to follow video in YouTube to be really helpful.
Roasting (see note 2 and 3)
- Combine soy sauce and oil in a small bowl then baste the skin of the pork, covering all sides.
- Place the pork on a wire rack set over an oven tray. Cover tightly with a heavy-duty foil. Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position and bake for 3 hours at 180c/ 350F.
- Remove foil after 3 hours. Baste skin with oil. Place the pork back into the oven and increase temp to 200c/ 392f bake for 45mins to 1 hour until the skin is crisp and golden. Use tongs to rotate the pork three times to brown all the sides evenly, approx 15-20 min each side. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes before slicing. Serve with lechon liver sauce or the soy vinegar sawsawan.
Recipe Notes and Tips:
- Pork belly – use a rectangular piece of boneless fatty pork belly, roughly the right size to be rolled up inside, skin left on. Have the butcher prepare this for you for convenience.
- Oven setting – use the conventional setting. The symbol is two lines, one at the top and one at the bottom of a square which means the heat source is both from the top and bottom.
- Cooking time – adjust cooking time based on the size of the pork i.e. 3 kg pork may need 4-5 hours to become succulently tender.
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Watch and drool 🙂