Roast Suckling Pig Cuban Style (Lechón Asado)
by Cuban chef
A wondeful feast, garlicky fragance and what flavors! A tradition at a Cuban Christmas.
This recipe uses a whole pig. Make sure you have a large enough pan with generous sides, so the fat will not splatter. Be sure and check if this will fit in your oven and in your refrigerator for overnight marinating.
One day before cooking, wash the pig inside and out and pat dry with paper towels. In a mortar, combine the garlic, oregano and salt, and mash to a paste. Place the pig in a large pan, rub it inside and out with the garlic paste, season it liberally with salt and pepper and pour the soured juices over it. Sprinkle with the crumbled bay leaves. Cover the pig with aluminum foil and refrigerate 24 hours.
Three to 5 hours before serving, preheat the oven to 375 F degrees, remove the pig from the marinade and reserve the marinade. Place the pig in a shallow aluminum foil-lined roasting pan, insert a wad of foil in the mouth to keep it open, cover the ears with foil and brush the skin with oil. Insert a meat thermometer in the hind leg, making sure it does not touch bone.
Roast the pig 1 hour, lower the oven to 350F degrees and bake 2-5 hours more (depending upon the size of the pig), basting frequently with oil, juices, and reserved marinade. Remove the foil from the ears halfway through the baking time.
When the pig is done to an internal temperature of 185F-190F degrees, the skin is a cordovan brown, and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a fork, transfer to a large platter and allow to rest 15-20 minutes before carving. (The meat will be very well done and practically falling from the bones). Remove the foil from the mouth and replace it with your choice of fruit.
10 Lbs whole Suckling Pig ( approx. 1 Lb per person) prepared by the butcher for roasting.
10 Cloves of Garlic, or to taste
2 Tsp Dried Oregano
4 Tsp Salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 Cups Sour (Seville) orange juice
2 Bay leaves, crumbled
Olive oil for basting
1 apple, orange, lemon or lime for garnish