Pig Roasting Around the World
~Chef Perry Perkins~
In the Philippines, pig roast is also called “lechon.” The cooked pig is often served with an apple in its mouth. “Lechon” is a must at all holiday parties and celebrations like anniversaries, christenings, birthdays.
Many claim that Filipino whole roasted pig is the best in the world. I'd say, if it's not, it's nipping at the heels of the front-runner. Either way, I'm certainly never going to turn it down!
And, ask most Filipino's where to find the best pig, and they'll send you to the small town of Cebu, which was colonized by the Spanish more than 400 years ago (and the Spanish, of course, brought pigs.) Cebu's lechon is so wildly popular in the Philippines, that domestic airlines accept it as regular freight, straight from the spit to all parts of the country!
Now, that's a body-cavity search I could get behind!
1 (45- to 50-pound) dressed pig
salt and black pepper to taste
2 liters of Sprite or 7up
1 liter of coconut water
10 bundles lemon grass
6 bay leaves (crumbled)
4 lbs green onion (greens only)
1/4 cup star anise
5 cups of crushed garlic
8 pieces of halved saba bananas
Marinate the pig (chilled), skin side down, overnight in 2-3 inches of Sprite and coconut water, sprinkled with salt.
Before roasting, bring the pig to room temp. (discard the marinade)
Par-cook the bananas by boiling 5 minutes.
Rub the whole pig with salt and pepper, the brush the cavity with soy sauce.
Pack the belly cavity with saba bananas, anise, green onion leaves, crushed garlic and bay.
Next, stack on the lemon grass, and cover just the belly cavity with foil.
Bring pig to room temperature before roasting, and place 3 large disposable steam pans under the bottom rack in your La Caja China, to catch the juices.
After flipping the pig, brush the skin side generously with more of the Sprite/Coconut mixture, before crisping.
Strain the broth from the pans, and serve the pig with sticky rice, and hot broth on the side.
For an even more traditional version, use the Pig, Hog, and Lamb Rotisserie for the Caja China Box.
As a third-generation chef, Perry P. Perkins focuses his love of cooking on barbeque, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine.
Perry runs the non-profit organization, MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, which teaches nutrition, shopping, and hands on cooking classes for at risk youth.
His cookbooks include La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, La Caja China Party, and the NEW “La Caja China Grill.”
You can follow the rest of Chef Perry’s cooking adventures at ChefPerryPerkins.com