Lechon is roasted suckling pig, usually skewered on a stick and cooked over charcoal. The term originated from the Spanish word "leche" meaning milk.
Typically, when lechon is cooked, the first part that goes is the skin as everybody wants a piece of that delicious, crunchy part. However, if cooked properly, the whole pig is as good as the skin.
Obviously, we don't have a lechon pit, and we can't buy a whole pig here, so we just tried cooking a small slab of pork lechon-style.
What you need:
- 3 pound cut of shoulder roast pork; picnic style
- Around 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp chopped onion
What to do:
Fill a large pot with water enough to cover the pork and add salt. Let it boil for an hour and a half (depending on the size of pork you have). Remove from the water and let sit for a couple of hours.
Pre-heat your oven (convection) to 375 degrees F. Put a cooling rack on a baking tray and place the pork on the cooling rack. This is so the oil will drip away from the pork. Insert a probe thermometer on the thickest part of the meat. Keep an eye on it, as we want the internal heat to reach between 165 to 170, depending on your preference (in this case, around 1 hour and 15 minutes).
Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce. Just combine all the sauce ingredients in a container and let it sit for a while so the liquids would absorb the flavor of the sugar and the onion.
When the thermometer reaches the desired internal heat, remove from the oven, let the pork cool a bit, and enjoy!
Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:
1. If you don't have a convection oven, use the regular bake setting but set it at 400 degrees F. Also, you might have to turn the pork halfway through cooking to get some crispiness on the skin.
2. If you don't like the dipping sauce, use distilled vinegar with a little bit of salt and crushed garlic.
3. Don't throw away the broth you made when you boiled the pork - it is a good base for soup. (Just add water if it is too salty)
4. Don't have a cooling rack? Just line the baking tray with aluminum foil and put the pork there.