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Oven Lechon W/Skin

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Greetings All,

I've tried to make an oven version of lechon with crispy skin a few times and I'm not having much luck in the overall product. I would like to know if anyone has a good consistent method/recipe.

--I've used pork leg, butt and belly all with skin on.
--I've used varying amounts of liquid from none to half covered to totally covered (except skin).

Here is my general method for all meat cuts:

In a roasting pan I lay some cut up lemon grass and onions and I lay the roast on top skin side up. I puncture holes in the roast and insert some whole garlic cloves, probably about 4-5 depending on how big the roast is. I salt and pepper the roast liberally on all sides. I then add the liquid and tent with foil --but cut a hole so the skin is exposed (I'm not sure why I do that except it doesn't seem right to cover the skin). I then roast at 275-300 degrees for about 3-4 hrs. My last roast (pork butt/w/skin) was 4.75lbs.

A few times the meat came out dry (I suspect I didn't have enough liquid), a few times the meat was great (kind of like pulled pork) but generally it always tastes pretty good.

The skin has mostly come out looking visually great, with a nice color, that you'd expect from roasted lechon. However, a few times it was chewy, not crispy and I really don't know why.

I'm about 2 hours into my current roast (the 4.75 pounder) and the skin is looking weird already. I'm roasting at 275, with liquid almost covering the roast except for the skin.

I'd love to know if an oven version of lechon can yield both a nice soft meat and crispy skin combination. What am I doing wrong? Thanks in advance

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  1. Hi Rocky,

    I make this about 3 or 4 times a year-the only liquid I use is mojo marinade (I use Goya or Badia) and the juice from canned oranges. I pour it over the day before-I also put my garlic cloves in the day before. If I'm using a really big roast I will prep 2 days in advance so everything gets soaked in. I do cover it but I take of the foil the last 20 or 30 minutes and broil it to get the skin crispy. I'd like to know how yours turned out-I always do mine Puerto Rican style, but the lemon grass sounds interesting!

    1. I would roast uncovered at low temp initially and bast the skin every 20 minutes or so with the fat drippings. Crank up heat to 400 for the last 30 minutes. If all else fails you can make lechon kawali (the boiled, then deep-fried variety).

      1. This may help with the skin -- using an ice pick or similar tool, pierce skin all over, then rub salt over the skin. Repeat the piercing 3-4 times during cooking process. When meat is done, broil skin until it bubbles up = crispy. Do not overbroil and burn the product!

        1. Thanks everyone for replying. The meat came out excellent as usual but the skin not so much. I'm going for a Filipino style lechon with that nice smooth orangish skin color that is really crispy. Mine came out crunchy but not smooth. I don't know why I didn't think of turning the oven higher for the final cooking time but thanks for the tip. Although my skin is bubbly and NOT smooth way before the final half hour. I also don't baste the skin so I will try that also.

          I went about five hours for a 4.75lb roast and the meat had the texture of pulled pork or carnitas. I think that is the way it's suppose to be? During my visit to the Philippines I did have full pig lechon and I recall the meat being this way. Certainly, I've never come close to the skin I had in the PI but I will keep trying.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Rocky Road

            You need to brine the meat overnight in the refrigerator and use a convection oven. Make sure you dry the skin before roasting.

            Try roasting at 350F, 40 minutes per pound. Baste the skin with the drippings every 10-15 minutes during the final hour. Increase temperature to 450F and continuing roasting for another 1/2 hour until skin is golden (start checking at 20 minutes).

            Ideally, you should be using meat from a young pig.