For a Memorial Day cookout, you want something big and impressive that will put all other grillers to shame. Nothing fits the bill quite like a roast pig, and there’s no roast pig as good as Filipino lechon—seriously, you haven’t lived life to the fullest until you’ve had some.

I’ve found there’s nothing like lechon to bring all friends and family out of from every crack and crevice, and you need them all to finish that beast, but what if you don’t have that prerequisite crowd to down a whole pig? Luckily there’s an answer for that, and it’s called lechon liempo.

Lechon liempo takes the tastiest portion of the swine—the belly—and gives it the slow-roasted treatment that results in succulent meat and crackling skin. It’s enough to just roll up a piece of belly and put it on the spit, but I took the extra step of seasoning the inside with garlic paste.

As you can see, there’s some unevenness on the pig skin but that’s of little importance, as it did nothing to hold back the sheer awesomeness of the juicy, flavorful belly meat and the salty, crunchy rind. It’s one grilled treat that’s hard to beat.

Recipe

  • YIELD:serves 10-12
  • ACTIVE TIME:45 minutes
  • TOTAL TIME:3 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (5-lb) piece of pork belly, skin on
  • 1 disposable foil pan
  • Type of fire: three-zone split
  • Grill heat: medium

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, garlic, salt, vinegar, and black pepper.

  2. Lay pork belly on a cutting board skin-side down. Score flesh diagonally about every 2-inches. Repeat in opposite direction, creating a diamond pattern. Spread garlic mixture evenly all over flesh.

  3. Roll pork into a cylinder and tie tightly with butcher twine about every inch.

  4. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on either side of the charcoal grate and place a foil pan between the two piles of coals. Cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Run spit of the rotisserie through middle of pork and secure ends with rotisserie forks. Place on the rotisserie, cover, and cook at medium heat until skin has darkened and crisped and pork registers 160ºF when an instant read thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the meat, about 3 hours, replenishing coals to maintain temperature as needed. Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes. Remove spit, slice, and serve.

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