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How to Make Lechon Pork Belly

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!

how to make Lechon Pork Belly

Merry Christmas 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!

Lechon Crispy Skin

I love everything about it! Tender, crispy and full-flavored. Just look at how beautiful it is!

Lechon Ingredients

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 (optional but recommended) – if I had the time, I would have done this to really infuse that lemon-grass flavor. But alas, this was an emergency Lechon after all. The result was wonderful, nonetheless, so no need to be hung up about it.

If you have the time, please do me a favor and brine that pork in this solution two days before roasting:

  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 4 cups of water
  • chopped fresh lemongrass (use 2 stalks)
  • 5 cloves garlic – pressed
  • peppercorn – about 1 teaspoon

To brine:

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.

Lechon Pork Belly Cebu Ingredients

SEASON – 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.

Rolled Lechon Pork Belly

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.

Lechon Cebu Ingredient

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.

how to make Cebu Lechon Homemade

BAKE/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 1/2  hours at 200c/ 392F. Adjust cooking time if using larger cuts of pork.

baked Filipino Lechon

Remove foil after 3 1/2 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!

Homemade Lechon Cebu

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

More holiday recipes for you!

Homemade Lechon Cebu

Pork Belly Lechon Recipe

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Servings: 4 -5 servings
Author: Mella
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 30 minutes
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.

Ingredients

  • 1-1.5 kg /2-3 lbs boneless pork belly (skin on)
  • 1 tbsp salt (adjust as needed)
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 3 tsp light soy sauce mix with 2 tsp oil

Stuffing

  • 1 whole garlic (peeled and smashed)
  • 6 bulbs shallots or 1 whole red onion (sliced)
  • 4 stalks lemongrass/ tanglad (bruised, divided)

Instructions

  • Prepare the spices–smashed the garlic, slice the onions and bruise the lemongrass. Cut 2 stalks of the lemongrass into pieces.
  • 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 salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Spread slices of shallots, garlic, and chopped lemongrass.
  • Place remaining 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. Next, baste the skin with a mixture of soy sauce and oil to give it a nice golden color.
  • 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 1/2  hours at 200c/ 392F.
  • Remove foil after 3 1/2 hours. Baste skin with oil. Place the pork back into the oven and bake for 1 hour until the skin is crisp and golden. 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 pork belly, roughly the right size to be rolled up inside, skin left on. Have the butcher prepare this for you for convenience.
Brine - if you have the time, brine the pork in this solution two days before roasting:
    • 1 tbsp salt
    • 4 cups of water
    • chopped fresh lemongrass (use 2 stalks)
    • 5 cloves garlic - pressed
    • peppercorn - about 1 teaspoon
Combine everything in a pot, let it boil for a few minutes then cool. 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.
Oven setting - use conventional setting. The symbol is two lines, one at the top and one at the bottom of a square which means heat source is both from the top and bottom.
Cooking time - adjust cooking time based on the size of the pork i.e. 2kg pork may need 4-5 hours to become succulently tender.
Course : Main Course
Cuisine : Filipino
Keyword : boneless lechon, cebu lechon, filipino lechon recipe
Nutrition Facts
Pork Belly Lechon Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 1324 Calories from Fat 1197
% Daily Value*
Fat 133g205%
Saturated Fat 48g300%
Cholesterol 180mg60%
Sodium 2078mg90%
Potassium 622mg18%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 25g50%
Vitamin A 25IU1%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 31mg3%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @rivertenkitchen and hashtag it #rivertenkitchen or leave a comment below!

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