Pork Litson! Not authentic but close enough.
Note: This contains tons of fat. As our most beloved pastor always jokes about, “If you want to reach the end of days, you should keep your taste buds a mile away.”
True to my reason for cooking, which is to replicate home-inspired meals, I had to try this big belly boy. Litson here costs a lot — way, way more than in Manila. Tasting this once or twice a year is a bonus. So there’s no stopping us from making this delicacy now.
Although I must admit, this is still way different from Cebu-style lechon, but for me, it is as close as it gets. This is my fourth try. The first one was not quite spot on. The next two had great improvements. This one was close enough. The skin texture and crispiness is almost identical. The flavour of the meat is spot on. The oregano and lemongrass makes all the difference. The visual appearance is quite different. I’d give this a seven out of ten from the original bamboo roasted pork litson.
And since cooking is all about learning, one major concept I learned in trying out this recipe is that when using the lemongrass for cooking, you only use the bottom two-thirds (2/3) of the lemon grass and discard the upper one-third (1/3). I, being a visual guy, always wanting color, mistakenly used the dry upper third part of the lemon grass on my first attempt. That is the only part of the lemongrass that has the green color. Don’t blame me. I think that was the main reason my first try turned out to be a big disappointment. Good thing my friend Nikko said that the bottom two-third has all the flavors needed for cooking and rightfully so, dundundun: a more tastier pork belly litson. It’s always good to learn new stuff.
Got the recipe from http://webjunkiesblog.blogspot.ca/2014/02/how-to-cook-roasted-pork-belly-lechon.html. If you have an oven you should try this out but be aware that this requires tons of patience — just five (5) hours and thirty (30) minutes.
Oh and make sure you use the right oven temperatures. On my first and second try, I cooked at 160F rather than 160C. Our oven uses Fahrenheit. So check that out. Other than that, it should be all good. Let’s eat.
Oh and Happy Thanksgiving to our neighbours in the south.