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MaesLechon-2

Mae’s Slow Roasted Pork

As Seen on BBC2 ‘Mary Berry’s Easter Feast’

Lechon, is slow roasted suckling pig and it is a Philippines national treasure, even Anthony Bourdane couldn’t get enough of it. It’s delicious and an all time favourite dish at many Filipino gatherings.  Lechon or Litson [Le-chon] is stuffed with herbs & spices and cooked over coal on low heat for many hours. Keeping the meat moist and the skin nice and crispy.  

You might have seen me on TV with Mary Berry on her 2016 Easter show on BBC2 “Mary Berry’s Easter Feast”.  I showed Mary how to make a traditional ‘Lechon’ usually a whole hog spit roasted in charcoal but a smaller version. In the Philippines the whole pig is slowly roasted over charcoal and constantly turned to make sure that it cooks evenly. There are usually 2 or 3 cooks as they take turns in turning the pork and depending on the weight of the pig it could take up to 8 hours to cook. When it’s finally done, the skin is golden, with a red-ish brown crispy skin that has separated from the fat and meat. So you will get a thin crispy skin that is sooo delicious. With the slow roasting for many hours, most of the fat has been shredded and dripped off the pork so you are left with only some fat that kept the meat moist and tasty.

My recipe is fit for anyone’s kitchen  who are willing to wait for a perfect roast pork. Living in a flat in London and without the spit, coal and space, I have to make do with Pork belly in my fan-assisted oven. However trust me when I say it’s worth it!

You will be delighted to know that all of the ingredients are accessible in the UK. Thinking back 10 years ago I might struggle to find some Filipino ingredients but today I can get most of the ingredients from Chinatown or any Asian grocery store. I buy a big slab of pork belly from Chinatown because my metro grocery shop just doesn’t sell them at all, let alone one that is 7kg big..HAha!

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MaesLechon-2

Ingredients

2.5kg Pork Belly
6 lemon grass stems, crushed whole
6 stems spring onions, whole
5 cloves of garlic, minced
8 bay leaves, fresh or dried
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Brine: 5 litre water, 150g salt

Instructions

1
To brine the pork, in a large container add water and salt. Brine it overnight.
2
Heat the oven 120 fan/140C/Gas Mark 1. Take the pork out of the brine mixture, dry it all completely with kitchen cloth or kitchen tissue.
3
Place pork on a flat surface facing skin down with some kitchen towel underneath. Season the pork with salt and pepper evenly on the meat.
4
Place spring onions, lemon grass, bay leaves, garlic in the middle of the meat so it’s easier to roll and tie it later on.
5
Using butchers string, tie the pork belly across, all the way down its length ensuring it’s tight enough to keep the fillings inside.
6
Place the pork in a tray with a rack so that the juices drips down while roasting. Cook for 5 hours on low heat. Turn the pork around every 1 hour to make sure it cooks evenly and the skin colours evenly too.
7
On the last 30-40 minutes turn the heat up to 180 Fan/ 200C / Gas Mark 6. Make sure you keep an eye on it as the skin can easily burn at this stage. Once you see that the skin is golden brown almost orangey, you can take it out of the oven. Leave it to rest for 10 minutes. Transfer it to a serving dish and it’s ready to serve.

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    • Eigh espinosa
    • 30/12/2019
    Reply

    Hi, is the skin crispy like our lechon? and when you say 180fan, do you mean 180farenheight? thanks

      • foodwithmae
      • 03/01/2020
      Reply

      Hello Eigh! Thank you for visiting my blog. Yes the skin is as close to the lechon cooked in charcoal or wood from Philippines. Make sure you pork is on a rack so that the fat drips on the a tray and turn the pork around every so often so that the skin cooks evenly. I mean 180 fan oven OR 400 Fahrenheit OR gas mark 6 OR 200 Celsius. You’re welcome =) Please don’t forget to share and rate the recipe!

    • Jo
    • 11/04/2020
    Reply

    Please can you advise what you would serve with this traditionally

      • foodwithmae
      • 12/04/2020
      Reply

      Hi Jo! Thank you for getting in touch with me. Traditionally you eat lechon with rice and some liver sauce. You can also get ‘Mang Tomas’ sauce from Chinatown, in the Filipino section or you can also go to a Filipino grocery store near you. OR alternatively you can also eat lechon with rice and a dip made with soy & vinegar OR lemon juice & soy sauce. To be honest when I make lechon as well as making rice I also roast some potatoes and vegetables and gravy. So I have both Filipino and English roast in one table! HAHA!

    • lucy
    • 11/04/2020
    Reply

    Does brining make it salty? I noticed the recipe doesn’t call for rinsing after this stage? 🙂

      • foodwithmae
      • 12/04/2020
      Reply

      Hi Lucy, Thank you for your message. I tend not to rinse it but you can rinse it if you prefer, if I don’t rinse it I don’t add much salt afterwards. I hope that helps. Thank you for trying my recipe =)

    • Mr Bernard Mrozek
    • 11/04/2020
    Reply

    Hi Mae

    I hope you are keeping well in these bad times. I have just seen a re run of the Lechon with Mary Berry on this mornings Saturday kitchen and I intend to try as it looks fantastic.

    Just a quick question. On the show Mary says you cooked it for 6 hours at 100C. Should this be the temperature for my fan oven or should I follow the recipe instructions of 5 hours at 120C followed by 30 to 40 minutes at 180C?

    Many Thanks

    Ben

      • foodwithmae
      • 12/04/2020
      Reply

      Hi Ben!

      My family and I are well.
      Thank you for trying my recipe, you can follow the instructions on the recipe here but both are similar so it wont make much difference. The goal is to slow cook the pork, the fat should render and drip down without burning the skin. On the last 40 minutes when you turn the heat up. Keeping an eye on the skin as it can easily burn. The result should have the a moist meat, fat has mostly disappeared and the skin is crunchy but not bubbly. I have to say each pork cook differently, I have chosen pork belly that has a lot of fat but sometimes it’s hard to find this especially at the current situation. You have to gauge it while cooking and adjust accordingly. Please DM me on instgram @foodwithmae for a quicker response. If you’re cooking this today, I can assist you =)

      Kind regards,
      Mae

    • Craig
    • 13/04/2020
    Reply

    Hi Mae
    I am looking forward to trying this recipe but I was wondering if I had a smaller piece of pork belly – say 1kg – how should I adjust the cooking times?
    Also – how much salt do you use in your brine? I am keen not to over-salt as someone else asked earlier.
    Thanks!!! #Staysafe

      • foodwithmae
      • 14/04/2020
      Reply

      Hi Craig, You can adjust the time to 3 hours + 40 mins high heat to crisp the skin. You can lessen the salt to 100g and if you are still worried that it might be salty, you can rinse the pork too.. Enjoy cooking and thank ou for using my recipe! =)

    • Karen
    • 15/04/2020
    Reply

    Hi Maeh,

    Would it be possible not to brine the meat? Or can you suggest any alternative way as my fridge has no enough space to store it for 24hrs. I’m a bit hesitant to do room temperature brining. Thanks!

      • foodwithmae
      • 18/04/2020
      Reply

      Hi Karen,
      You don’t to brine the meat, I prefer it as I find that the meat is tastier and moist. You can still cook the lechon without brining.

      I hope this helps.

      Mae
      x

        • Karen
        • 09/05/2020
        Reply

        Hi Mae, it turned up so well even without the brining. Cook it for 5hrs today for my birthday. It was so good, especially the cracklings, did a video for evidence hahaha!!

    • David Powell
    • 17/04/2020
    Reply

    Followed your recipe, and it turned out brilliant, thanks
    David

      • foodwithmae
      • 18/04/2020
      Reply

      Hi David,
      Thank you so much for using my recipe! I’m glad it turned out well.

      You are welcome 😃

      Mae
      x

    • Tracey Roberts
    • 19/04/2020
    Reply

    Hi Mae
    Oh my, have just enjoyed cooking and eating this wonderful recipe. Have never been able to get such crisp crackling.
    I had a smaller cut of meat but followed your instructions and it was delicious.
    Many thanks
    Tracey

      • foodwithmae
      • 28/04/2020
      Reply

      Hi Tracey,

      Thank you for using my recipe. I’m glad it turned out well and you
      enjoyed Lechon. I hope you continue to cook lechon in the future!

      Regards,
      Mae

    • Stewart Hale
    • 26/04/2020
    Reply

    Hi Mae, We have just made your lechon recipe after seeing it on Saturday Kitchen the other week. It was delicious. The meat remained moist inside and crackling was nice and crispy. We served ours with a rainbow salad with asian dressing.

      • foodwithmae
      • 28/04/2020
      Reply

      Hi Stewart,

      Thank you for using my Lechon recipe. I’m happy that it turned out well and you enjoyed it.
      Rainbow salad sounds like a great dish to compliment the lechon.
      I hope you continue to use my recipe in the future. I would love to see some photos, if you have
      any before you ate it all! HaHa!!

      regards,
      Mae

    • Karen Heggs
    • 27/04/2020
    Reply

    Wow! Just saw this on Saturday Kitchen catch-up with Mary Berry! My mouth is watering and I’m now off to the butchers to get some pork belly! Also just signed up to your site. Looking forward to more inspiration!

      • foodwithmae
      • 28/04/2020
      Reply

      Hi Karen,
      Thank you for tuning into Saturday Kitchen. If you have
      any questions please don’t hesitate to message, though DM on
      instagram @foodwithmae will quicker than on here.
      All the best with cooking lechon!

      regards,
      Mae

    • Stewart Hale
    • 27/04/2020
    Reply

    Hi Mae, we tried your pork lechon dish after seeing a clip of you on Mary Berry’s program on Saturday Kitchen. It was delicious, we adjusted the cooking time slightly as we had a smaller piece of belly pork. The skin was crispy and meat was well cooked and not dried out. Well worth the slow long cooking time. We served ours with a thai rainbow salad . A nice alternative tona traditional sunday roast.

      • foodwithmae
      • 28/04/2020
      Reply

      Hi Stewart,
      Thank you for using my Lechon recipe. I’m happy that it turned out well and you enjoyed it.
      Rainbow salad sounds like a great dish to compliment the lechon.
      It’s definitely a great alternative to a traditional roast =)
      Honestly, I make roast veggies, gravy and rice too so I can have both Filipino and an English plate. I basically have 2 servings! HAHA!!

      regards,
      Mae

    • Wendy Schifano
    • 09/05/2020
    Reply

    Hi Mae
    I made your Lechon today after I saw you on Saturday Kitchen with Mary Berry and it was so delicious ! I wasn’t sure the skin was going to crisp up but after 30 mins at 200 it was perfectly crisp I will make this again and again 🙂
    Thank you
    Wendy x

      • foodwithmae
      • 18/05/2020
      Reply

      Hi Wendy! Thank you so much for giving my recipe a try. I’m glad you enjoyed it =)

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