Holiday Garlic Herb Pork Belly Lechon
Need a perfect holiday show-stopping meat entree for Christmas dinner that will feed all your hungry loved ones? For this incredible Cebu-style recipe, seasoned pork belly is rubbed with garlic, thyme, rosemary lemon, and fennel seed, then tied around a juicy, tender pork loin. The crispy, puffy skin on the outside makes this boneless pork belly lechon the perfect gift for Christmas; make sure you get some before it's all gone!
Total Time: 4 hr Prep Time: 1 hr Cook Time: 3 hr
Ingredients for 12 servings
- 8 lb skin on pork belly
- 1 cup
kosher salt, plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
- ½ cupfresh rosemary
- 4 lemons lemon zest
- ⅓ cup fresh thyme
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 ½ lb boneless pork loin, Not tenderloin, trimmed of excess fat
- nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
- Set the pork belly on a rimmed baking sheet. Season all over with ½ cup (120 g) of salt and the sugar. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- When ready to cook the pork, preheat the oven to 250˚F (120˚C).
- Unwrap the pork belly and rinse off all the salt and sugar with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels, then place skin-side down on a baking sheet or large cutting board.
- Add the fennel seeds to a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Transfer to a small bowl and wipe out the processor.
- To the clean food processor, add the rosemary, lemon zest, thyme, garlic, 2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper, and pulse until finely chopped and well combined.
- Spread the garlic-herb paste evenly over the meat side of the pork belly.
- Place the pork loin parallel along a short side of the pork belly. Roll up the belly to encase the loin and position the roll seam-side down.
- Set a wire rack over a baking sheet and grease with nonstick spray. Arrange 8 30-inch (75 cm) long pieces of kitchen twine over the wire rack, spacing 1½ inches (4 cm) apart. Place the pork roll, seam-side down, across the center of the twine pieces.
- Starting with the centermost piece, tie the twine as tightly as you can around the pork roll, using 2 double knots. Work your way from the center toward either end to tie the rest of the twine. Cut off the excess twine.
- Add the other ½ cup (120 g) of salt to the bowl with the ground fennel seeds and stir to combine. Sprinkle over the pork roll and rub into the skin.
- Roast the porchetta for about 3 hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center reaches 145˚F (63˚C). Remove from the oven.
- Increase the oven temperature to 450˚F (230˚C). Transfer the pork roll, still on the wire rack, to a cutting board. Pour any pan juices into a small bowl and skim off any fat.
- Set the porchetta on the wire rack over the baking sheet, then return to the oven and roast for about 30 minutes more, until the skin is bubbling, crisp, and golden.
- Transfer the porchetta to a cutting board and let rest for 20 minutes. Removed the twine and carve into ½-inch (1 ¼ cm) thick slices. Serve hot, with pan juices spooned over.