If you’re a fan of Filipino cuisine, then you’ve undoubtedly heard of lechon belly. This succulent dish is renowned for its ultra-crispy skin and the tantalizing combination of garlicky and citrusy flavors. Traditionally served at parties and special occasions, lechon belly is a showstopper that will leave your taste buds dancing with delight. In this article, we’ll share with you an authentic recipe for Cebuchon, a boneless, pork-belly roll version of lechon that originated in Cebu, a region famous for its flavorful style of roasting pork.
What is Cebuchon?
Cebuchon gets its name from the combination of “Cebu” and “lechon.” It pays homage to the traditional Filipino lechon, which is a whole roasted suckling pig. Lechon has its roots in Spain and has since become a global sensation. No Filipino celebration is complete without this mouthwatering dish.
The distinctiveness of Cebuchon lies in the stuffing. The pork belly is rolled and filled with aromatic herbs like lemongrass, scallions, and basil, adding a burst of flavors to each bite.
Choosing the Perfect Belly
Selecting the right pork belly is crucial to achieving the perfect lechon belly. Look for a piece of meat that is large enough to roll without the filling spilling out. It should also have enough diameter to fit securely onto a rotisserie. If you’re unsure where to find the ideal cut, Seafood City is a great place to start. They typically have pork belly of the appropriate size at their meat counter.
When choosing your pork belly, make sure it doesn’t have ribs attached, as you’ll need to remove them at home. Also, ensure that the skin is intact, as it is essential for achieving that desirable crispy texture. Trust us; you don’t want to make the same mistake we did by buying pork belly without the skin from Costco!
Creating the Perfect Brine
To infuse the meat with maximum flavor, we recommend using a brine. Start by boiling your brine mixture infused with fragrant aromatics like garlic, lemongrass, onions, bay leaf, and star anise. Let it simmer for around 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Once cooled, add vinegar to enhance the taste and tenderize the meat. Remember, the longer you marinate your pork belly, the more flavorful it will become. We suggest at least four hours, or if time permits, overnight in the refrigerator to prevent spoilage.
Seasoning and Stuffing
After the brining process, pat dry your pork belly with paper towels and season it liberally with salt. Between each fold, add a generous helping of salt and pepper, garlic slices, sliced onions, bay leaves, scallions, and lemongrass. This stuffing is what gives Cebuchon its distinctive Cebu-style flavor.
Rolling and Tying
Tying up your lechon belly is key to ensuring it remains intact during the cooking process. We recommend using 5-6 individual pieces of butcher twine to keep the roll in shape. Tie the twine as close to the edges as possible to maximize the length of the roll while allowing for more crispy skin. We found that using separate strings of twine works best to hold all the stuffing together.
Tips for Cooking on the Rotisserie
To achieve the best results, follow these tips when cooking your Cebuchon on the rotisserie:
- Use a drip tray to catch any excess fat and prevent flare-ups.
- Monitor the temperature of the grill to ensure even cooking.
- Practice safe grilling techniques and refer to your grill manual for guidance on positioning the grill and maintaining a safe distance from flammable objects.
Serving and Enjoying
Cebuchon is traditionally enjoyed kamayan style, which means eating with your hands. Serve it with a side of sinangag (garlic rice), pork BBQ skewers, and some tangy atchara. For a dipping sauce, a simple combination of cane vinegar and soy sauce works wonders. If you find yourself with leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. To reheat, simply pop them in the oven for five minutes at 350°F.
Now that you have the recipe, it’s time to bring the flavors of BDK Restaurant’s lechon belly into your own home. You don’t have to wait for a special occasion; you can celebrate anytime with this delectable dish. So gather your family and friends, fire up the grill, and let the tantalizing aroma of lechon belly fill the air. Remember to visit BDK Restaurant for more mouthwatering recipes and culinary inspiration. Happy cooking!