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From South Board-Lechon asado in NC

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MMRuth asked about cross posting this. Lechon asado, Pernil, lechonero. Esssentisally slow roasted, marinated pork, creole style. This is the Typical Nochebuena (Christmas eve) centerpiece at just about every Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican table.

of course, traditionally it's a whole pig or suckling pig, and you'd want to do it outside in a pit, however...some things are just not kosher 'round these parts...

the characteristic parts are:
unbelievably tender meat...literally falling off
tangy garlicky savoury flavor
cripy/chewy flavorful skin...

this needs to be done with either a fresh picnic ham with good skin on it...NOT a ham! or a good shoulder.

my grandmother's method was to stab the roast all over with a knife and shove whole or halved garlic cloves into the holes.

make a good mojo from a ton of garlic minced together with salt, olive oil, bitter orange juice, and cumin. very basic. it best if you can whizz, or mash the stuff in a mortar and pestle to really release the flavors.

I tend to layer onion slices in the marinating vat along with the roast, just for extra flavor. pour/rub the marinade all over the roast, in the cuts, and under some of the skin. alot of the marinade witll also soak into the onions for later yummy roasting! MM

let this marinade for as long as you can possibly stand it. (MMRuth, maybe you can prep it in NYC, and keep it marinating in a cooler for the whole drive!)

when you're an 8-10 lb roast should have you roasting for about 3 hrs altogether...

to be safe, you want to figure about 1/2 hr or so per pound. heat your oven to 350 degrees F. in a roasting pan, you can either use a rack, or my favorite method of using some thick sliced onions under the roast. mm.

roast uncovered for about an hour, or 1/3 of your cooking time, turning it over once.

turn the heat down to about 325 and tent the pan with foil. cook for another hour, or the 2nd 1/3 of cooking time, basting as necessary.

uncover the roast for the remaining time, making sure internal temp reaches at least 150F in the center of the roast.

i often like to turn up the heat or the broiler at the end to really get a good crisp on the skin.

let it sit for a bit before slicing. my family always liked to roast their pork at an even lower temp and throughout the night...there's nothing more disconcerting than waking up at 3am to all that garlic...haha

Note: this is in NO way the be-all and end-all of lechon cooking...just my version...everyone does it a bit differently. and these islands, its unfair to say they have an actual cuisine...just great, kicked up peasant food. :)

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  1. Thank you so very much!!

    1. I decided to skip this for Christmas, but had to promise my husband to make it in January. So I may have more questions - did find a couple of recipes in some cookbooks (though oddly not in my Dominican ones - in Miami Spice and in Douglas Rodriguez' book). Thanks again!