Ask any Pinoy what they would like to see served in any fiesta or celebration and for sure, majority will tell you --- LECHON! That's pork roast for you - but it's not just your ordinary pork roast - it's an entire pig roast. It's not so much the meat that everyone goes crazy for, although it's definitely what I love, - it's actually the crispy skin (like a pork crackling) that everyone wants to get hold of first. And you better be first in line or it's gone before you know it. :-) If you've ever had lechon - you'll know why. The skin is just crispy and crunchy when you bite it and is so full of flavor too (not to mention the fat and cholesterol -- so beware!!!). Of course, no lechon is complete with out the "sarsa" and traditionally, we rely on Mang Tomas (see photo) for the sauce to dip your lechon skin or meat in. I don't have a homemade sauce yet so for now I have been using Mang Tomas as my sauce but you can always just make an ordinary pork gravy to go with your lechon too.
While Lechon is not for the faint-hearted - well there's a lot of calories and fat in it for sure - I'd like to enjoy it on special occasions, after all even in the Philippines you don't eat this on a daily basis but usually for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries...etc. I have tried a lechon recipe before and though I was happy with it - the skin was not crispy at all. It was soft and not what you expect in a lechon - no crunch at all....
After scouring the internet, I found this super-simple recipe for Lechon sa Hurno (Oven Roasted Pork) and decided to give it a try hoping that as it promised it will give me the crispy skin that I desired. And, wow did it deliver! The skin was super-crispy - like a perfect pork-crackling and even after the next day - after I had placed the left-over roast in the fridge the skin retained it's crispness! How about that?
The only thing I wish to note is the high temp (450F) that it requires towards the end of cooking - it may be a little too high - my oven was smoking after about 10 minutes so perhaps I will try 425F next time to see if I can achieve the same results. Or perhaps I will shorten the time from 20-30 minutes (as the original recipe recommends) to only about 15 minutes or less so I don't burn the skin. But apart from this - it is a wonderful and very simple recipe that truly made a great Oven-roasted Lechon. Thanks to Filipino Recipe Site for a great and easy Lechon sa Hurno (Oven-roasted Pork) recipe. Next time you get a picnic ham, try this!
1 (3 to 5 lbs.) fresh boneless shoulder picnic ham (uncooked)*
Salt, to taste
*I used a 3-pound shoulder picnic ham.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a roasting pan.
Clean the pork ham/roast with running water. Pat dry with paper towels. Rub generously with salt all over. Note: If your roast has been pre-seasoned or enhanced then go a little easy on the salt. Eyeball it.
Transfer to a roasting pan and bake skin-side up. The length of time will depend on the weight of your roast. Generally, it's about 40 minutes per pound and that is what I followed for my picnic ham. For a 3 lb ham (give a take a few more ounces) it's about 120 minutes or 2 hours.
During the last hour, brush the entire skin/roast with fat drippings from the pan every 15 minutes. Do not skip this because this is what will help make the skin crisp. The original recipe mentions every 10 minutes but I only did about every 15 minutes and still came out great.
Thereafter, increase the oven temperatur to 450°F and continue to roast for another 15-20 minutes or until the skin has blistered and has turned golden brown. I only used a 3-lb ham so 15 minutes was sufficient but it would probably be longer for a bigger ham. The skin should be crispy. The internal temperature reading using an instant-read meat thermometer should reach about 170°F.
Remove from the oven. Cover with foil and let stand for 5 minutes.
Here is the roast left standing for a few minutes. I actually forgot to cover it with foil but it still came out well.
Cut into serving pieces and place into a serving platter. Serve with the sauce of your choice and if you're pinoy - have it with some Sarsa ni Mang Tomas! You can also make a gravy using the drippings. Just add a little flour to thicken the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Delish!
Perfectly cooked picnic ham roast! For the Pinoys, what they covet is not so much the meat but the delicious crispy pork skin! Enjoy your homemade Lechon!
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This recipe is featured at Weekend Potluck.