Perfectly crispy lechon baboy: Cebu recipe with unique ingredients

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  June 6, 2022

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Lechon is for a celebration as beer is for drinking parties. From fiestas and Noche Buena to weddings and almost any occasion, they’re never ever going to be complete without this dish!

It always manages to make any celebration grander, with its crispy skin and its succulent meat. People are surely going to forget that there are other items on the menu and form a line straight up to the lechon.

Today, I’ll be looking at this lechon baboy recipe for you to follow for any upcoming celebrations!

How to Make Perfect Lechon ( Lechon Cebu)
Favorite Asian Recipes
Favorite Asian Recipes

In this recipe, we’ll realize that yes, lechon baboy makes any celebration grander. But the preparation itself is grand as well!

If you’re from the provinces, you’ll actually have access to pigs in the backyard to prepare for the dish.

However, if you don’t have access to live pigs, you can always go to the butcher shop and buy an entire pig prepared specifically for lechon baboy.

Also check out this crispy tadyang ng baka recipe to make

Things to consider for preparing lechon baboy

  • After draining the pig, remove its innards and wash its insides, then take away its hairs by lightly burning it.
  • After making sure that all hairs are gone, wash the entire pig thoroughly again. Make sure that there are no traces of the insides and hair.
  • Seasoning the pig comes next and this involves mixing a lot of soy sauce, salt, garlic, onion, pepper, and seasonings, and washing the pig with this said mixture. Be very generous in this part.
  • Also, rub the pig inside and out with this mixture.
  • Proceed to stuff the pig’s stomach with lemongrass to fight off its gamey smell and saw the pig close.
  • Skewer the pig with a bamboo pole and roast over charcoal. While it’s roasting, you can brush it with vegetable or palm oil once in a while for it to have its distinct shine.
  • After it’s roasted, you can now chop up the pig and serve it to your guests or have it brought whole to the grand table.
  • This is a complicated recipe but a very rewarding one too. This is always going to be perfect in any celebration and will always be a favorite among Filipinos!
Lechon Cebu Recipe

It’s hard to admit that before I eat lechon, I actually see it first as a squealing, very much alive pig.

Yep, that’s what spending your childhood summers in the provinces does to you. You actually see farm animals slaughtered to be eaten later by you! :)

Lechon Cebu Recipe

How to make perfect lechon (lechon Cebu)

Joost Nusselder
Lechon is for a celebration as beer is for drinking parties. From fiestas and Noche Buena to weddings and almost any occasion, they're never ever going to be complete without this dish.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 8 hrs
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 12 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 20 people
Calories 1190 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 whole native pig (live weight 18 – 20 kg)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Soy sauce

For the glaze:

  • 1 liter Sprite

For the stuffing:

  • 10 bundles lemongrass (tanglad)
  • ¼ cup star anise
  • 6 pcs laurel or bay leaves cut into small parts
  • 5 cups crushed garlic
  • 2 kg green onion leaves
  • 8 pcs halved saba bananas half-cooked through boiling

Instructions
 

  • First, shave the hair follicles of the pig and remove the innards. Rinse the pig and make sure there are no more lumps of blood inside the stomach.
  • Then rub the insides with salt and pepper, including the body.
  • Rub a little soy sauce on the inside of the belly.
  • Stuff the belly with saba bananas, anise, green onion leaves, crushed garlic, and laurel leaves.
  • Next, stack the lemongrass in the center stomach, and stitch the belly, making sure that no ingredients slip out.
  • Skewer the pig with a mid-size bamboo pole and spit-roast over hot charcoal. Don't put the charcoal directly underneath the belly of the pig but over both sides, slowly turning the pig roast.
  • While slow-roasting the pig, glaze it from time to time with Sprite using a sponge. This will make the skin extra crispy.
  • Roast for a couple of hours until the meat is tender. Don't overcook.

Nutrition

Calories: 1190kcal
Keyword Pork
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Lechon Cebu


Do you like this lechon baboy recipe? Then don’t forget to leave your ideas and comments below. Please give this article a review/rating!

Now check out this video by YouTuber Choose Philippines to see them in action, cooking lechon baboy:

Lechon kawali recipe (Crispy fried pork belly)

We Filipinos consider ourselves a people who don’t like wasting anything, especially food. And any dish that’s leftover is spun into another dish ready to be consumed the next mealtime!

One such dish is lechon kawali. In the event that a whole lechon baboy isn’t devoured in a big celebration, you can rest assured that it’ll still last for another day, only as a different meal.

However, you can also cook lechon kawali from scratch and you wouldn’t need an actually roasted pig to start off with.

Continue reading to learn more about the lechon kawali recipe.

Lechon Kawali Recipe (Crispy Fried Pork Belly)

Lechon kawali recipe tips and preparation

There are 2 versions of this lechon kawali recipe. One involves using leftover lechon and the other is lechon kawali made from pork belly.

This first lechon kawali recipe is very easy to follow. First, heat up oil on a pan, then add the leftover lechon baboy for it to fry.

After frying, take off the lechon from the pan and reserve it for later. Now, in a separate pot, saute onion and garlic until translucent, then add the fried lechon.

Then, add flour, sugar, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Let it simmer until the liquid formed by these ingredients is almost evaporated.

An alternative to the flour, sugar, and vinegar combo is just pouring lechon sarsa into the pot after putting in the lechon. Again, adjust the amount of the “sarsa” as you wish.

Lechon sa Kawali
Lechon Kawali with Mang Tomas
Lechon sa Kawali

Lechon kawali recipe (Crispy fried pork belly)

Joost Nusselder
This first lechon kawali recipe is very easy to follow. You'll have a tasty dish to eat without much effort!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 8 people
Calories 630 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds boneless skin-on pork belly cut in half
  • 8 cloves garlic smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • Kosher salt
  • Canola or peanut oil, for frying
  • Rice or cane vinegar, preferably spicy, for dipping

Instructions
 

  • Place pork belly skin side down in a large pot and add enough water to completely submerge the meat.
  • Add garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower heat and reduce to a simmer.
  • Cover and cook until pork skin can be pierced with a knife with no resistance (about 1 hour).
  • Transfer pork to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet and season liberally with salt all over. Refrigerate pork until the skin has completely dried (6 hours or overnight).
  • Remove pork from refrigerator and cut into 3/4-inch slices.
  • Fill a wok or Dutch oven with at least 4 inches of oil and heat to 375°F over high heat. Working in batches, fry pork until deeply browned and skin has bubbled and crisped (7 to 10 minutes).
  • Transfer pork to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt to taste. Cut pork slices into 1/2-inch pieces.
  • Serve immediately with vinegar for dipping.

Nutrition

Calories: 630kcal
Keyword Pork
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Lechon Kawali Recipe
Lechon Kawali Filipino pork

Another version of this lechon kawali recipe involves washing the pork belly and dousing with a combination of bay leaf, salt, and peppercorns, and refrigerating it overnight.

Then, you’ll take it out of the refrigerator, heat oil in a pan, and toss the pork belly and deep-fry it. Wait until the pork belly is golden brown.

Once it’s done, take it off of the pan and drain any extra oil.

Again, after this, you have a choice to saute it once more and add Mang Tomas sarsa into it or to serve it already after frying and reserving the lechon sarsa as just a dip.

Salamat!

Also read: Crispy Filipino bagnet recipe, the holy grail for meat lovers

Filipino lechon pork belly recipe: Leave this marinating all night!

People all over the world have their versions of suckling pig. Here in the Philippines, Pinoys have lechon baboy, and it’s a much-celebrated delicacy with several renditions spanning the numerous provinces of the country.

It also evolved through the years, hence the birth of the famous lechon belly recipe. Like any lechon Cebu recipe (including lechon kawali cooked to perfection), this version uses pork belly.

The bones are removed so the presentation is quite remarkable since it’s rolled and tied. Through this, cutting it can provide more unique and even slices.

This lechon is often the topic of even the most discerning Pinoys. It’s also a favorite delicacy for foreigners!

Many restaurants serve it, but cooking this at home is always better because it’s cheaper and the serving size is bigger.

Lechon Belly Recipe

Lechon belly recipe preparation

What is it that makes this lechon belly recipe so good?

First, you can’t deny that almost all pork dishes are good. Pork meat is delicious!

The addition of different herbs and spices makes this dish even better. Aside from adobo, sinigang, and sisig, lechon belly is one of the most loved dishes in the Philippines.

Moreover, this dish has crispy skin when cooked the right way. For that reason, it’s a mainstay in different celebrations like weddings, baptisms, office parties, and other celebrations.

Most of all, it’s hard to celebrate a fiesta without lechon!

Lechon Pork Belly Recipe
Fiipino Lechon Pork Belly
Lechon Pork Belly Recipe

Filipino lechon pork belly recipe

Joost Nusselder
Lechon belly has crispy skin when cooked the right way. For that reason, it’s a mainstay in different celebrations like weddings, baptisms, office parties, and other celebrations.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 12 hrs
Total Time 12 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 8 people
Calories 715 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 kg pork belly ribs without ribs

For the marinade/brine:

  • 1 stalk lemongrass (tanglad)
  • 1 stalk onion leeks (or 3 stalks spring onions)
  • 2 pcs laurel (bay leaves)
  • 1 tbsp ground black peppercorn
  • 5 cloves garlic crushed
  • ½ cup rock salt
  • 5 cups water

For the filling:

  • 1 stalk lemongrass (tanglad)
  • 1 stalk onion leeks (or 3 stalks spring onions)
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed

For the glaze:

  • 3 parts evaporated milk
  • 1 part water

Instructions
 

  • Wash the pork slab with running water and make sure that the hairs on the skin are shaved.
  • In a pot, put in 5 cups of water, then add lemongrass, bay leaves, onion, black peppercorns, garlic, and salt.
  • Make the brine/marinade:
  • Bring water to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for at least 10 minutes. This will allow the herbs and spices to release their flavors and aromas.
  • Turn off heat. Set aside brine solution until it cools.
  • Pour brine onto the pork slab and marinate overnight (about 10-12 hours).
  • After marinating, remove the pork from the brine. The surface of the pork is quite salty, so we have to rinse with fresh water and then pat dry with a towel.
  • Lay the pork slab on a flat surface and place the rolled lemongrass, leek, and garlic onto it.
  • Now roll up the pork slab, form a roulade with the garlic, leeks, and lemongrass in the center. Tie pork with twine (string) to keep its roulade shape.
  • Brush the surface with a mixture of milk and water. Set aside for at least half to an hour to allow the milk to seep into the skin. Milk makes the skin color reddish-brown when roasted.

Cook lechon using a turbo broiler:

  • Set and preheat your turbo broiler at 375 F (190 C). Maintain this temperature up to the end of cooking.
  • Put the pork roulade on the turbo broiler but cover with aluminum foil.
  • I put aluminum foil to cover the meat temporarily for the first 2 hours of cooking to keep the belly moist inside and to shield it from direct hot air from the broiler fan. Otherwise, the outer part of the pork will be cooked quickly, yet the inner part will be half-cooked.
  • After 2 hours, remove the aluminum foil cover. Continue cooking, but rotate the roulade at least every 10 minutes to evenly cook the skin.
  • Check if the skin is crackling crispy. If so, then it's done.

Cook lechon using an oven:

  • Set and preheat your oven at 375 F (190 C). Maintain this temperature up to the end of cooking.
  • Place your pork roulade over a grill pan with wire mesh. Cover with aluminum foil.
  • Cover the belly for the first 2 hours of cooking to keep the belly moist inside and to shield it from direct heat from the oven. Otherwise, the outer part of the pork will be cooked quickly, yet the inner part will be half-cooked.
  • Place pork belly inside the oven. Remove the aluminum wrap after 2 hours. Rotate the pork once in a while to cook the skin evenly.
  • Check if the skin is already crackling crispy. If so, then it's done.

Notes

  • Cooking time may vary from 2 hours up to 3 hours, depending on if the pork slab came from a young or matured pig.
  • If your oven has a rotisserie setting, then you can use it. Just wrap it with aluminum foil for the first 2 hours of cooking.
  • To make the skin bubbling crispy, pierce the pork skin with a fork before cooking. Make sure that the pierce isn’t too deep to reach the fat section of the pork.
  • Leftover lechon belly can be recycled as lechon paksiw rather than reheating the same dish again.

Nutrition

Calories: 715kcal
Keyword LEchon, Pork
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Also read: this is how you make a soy sauce marinated paksiw na pata

It’s easy to cook lechon belly. Even home cooks can do this because there’s no need for a roasting pit to do it! An ordinary turbo broiler or oven can do the job.

Don’t worry because the skin will still be crispy. It’ll take some time to marinate the meat before putting it in the oven or broiler though.

It’s important to cover the meat with aluminum foil in the first half of roasting. This is to keep the meat moist.

After that, it’ll be cooked further; this time, without the aluminum foil to make the skin crispy.

Serve up a plate or two of lechon baboy

This is a fatty dish, which is why adding some side dishes can complement its richness.

With that, take time to cook this dish to discover its amazing flavors. It’ll definitely be a hit!

Also check out this pork humba recipe, a delicious Filipino sweet, salty & sour pork belly

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

Read for free

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.