08 Jul2010


If you can’t stand the thought of eating a cute, intelligent and furry animal, leave this post now for your own comfort. To this day, I have avoided cooking authentic lechon de leche (defined as the piglets still being nourished ONLY by their mothers milk) due to residual pangs of guilt about taking a piglet so young and roasting it. But I am a carnivore, and these animals are raised for food. So many purveyors claim to be selling lechon de leche, but if the cleaned and cooked weight of the lechon de leche is greater than say 2 to 3 kilos, including all bones and head, then it isn’t REALLY a lechon de leche. The smallest pigs we roast commercially at Zubuchon are our “Zubulight” offering, that start off with piglets with a live weight of say 11-13 kilos, and a cooked weight of say 5-7 kilos, with stuffing. For tomorrow’s experiment, we have purchased this newly weaned spotted piglet weighing 6-7 kilos and I plan to roast it unstuffed. In fact, had I remembered to bring some of the bounty of truffle salt and oils in our pantry in Manila, I could have experimented with a Roast Truffled Suckling Pig a la Marketman. Instead, I will just do a base case roasted lechon de leche…currently dubbed the Zubuleche.


I suppose I could have gone a kilo or so smaller, but this is what our purveyor said was the best organic, semi-native piglet in the market today. I plan to clean the piglet tomorrow, and try and cook it flattened out, instead of roasting it impaled on a bamboo pole. The objective is to obtain a crisp skin and flavorful, tender meat. At some Spanish restaurants, they make a big deal of being able to cut up the skin with a plate… It’s a rather pricey experiment, and the resulting meal will come in at roughly PHP1,100 pesos per kilo of meat, nearly 3x the price of regular lechon, so there MUST be a notable difference in the quality of the zubuleche to justify its nosebleed price… Stay tuned for the results of our Zubuleche experiment…


And yes, I know the spotted pig is cute and innocent.



  1. adam says:

    Is it my imagination or does the pig have a slight sense of impending doom about him?!

    Jul 8, 2010 | 11:52 am


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  3. fried-neurons says:

    It’s funny… completely irrational, with no rhyme or reason… but everytime I see pictures of cute little piglets, I feel pangs of guilt about my love for cochinillo asado. But seeing pictures of cute baby cows does nothing to dampen my hunger for veal. :-)

    Jul 8, 2010 | 11:56 am

  4. Jess says:

    I love the second photo–he seems to be smiling! Poor little piggy…

    Jul 8, 2010 | 12:11 pm

  5. tinsy winsy says:

    This piggy should be called Zubulilit…….:)

    Jul 8, 2010 | 12:50 pm

  6. cora says:

    poor piggy! he is so cute and enjoying his last few hours on earth and doesn’t know what’s coming to him.

    Jul 8, 2010 | 1:06 pm

  7. Gerry says:

    Most of the suckling pigs in Chinese restaurants are around 3kg dressed weight. They are split in half then skewered then hand turned over a barrel type Chinese oven. I think I saw it in the AFC channel. Most of the pigs of that size are imported from Vietnam and are supposedly quite cheap, though I don’t know where to get it.

    Jul 8, 2010 | 1:24 pm

  8. zofhia says:

    awww.. a cute little piggy..

    Jul 8, 2010 | 1:42 pm

  9. joyce says:

    at least the piglet had a relatively carefree life and was able to walk around and smell the grass. unlike the animals in the food inc.documentary.

    Jul 8, 2010 | 1:58 pm

  10. F says:

    Did you make it Sobrino de Botin?

    Jul 8, 2010 | 2:11 pm

  11. gil says:


    i think i will avoid the site for a while … light some candles for mr (or is it ms?) zubuleche (who I hope will not become zubu-litsi!) and go on a Good Friday diet for the weekend.

    of course, when the results of the experiment come out, expect me to be back!

    p.s. please, just post the ‘results’ of the experiment and not the process. i don’t think we need to be reminded of where dinuguan comes from.

    Jul 8, 2010 | 2:14 pm

  12. bettyimages says:

    poor little piggy =(

    Jul 8, 2010 | 3:32 pm

  13. Mom-Friday says:

    At least this lechon de leche /cochinillo is organic :)
    Kawawang biik…

    Jul 8, 2010 | 3:38 pm

  14. Seigfred says:

    you heartless killerrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!

    send some to melbourne.

    Jul 8, 2010 | 6:34 pm

  15. Footloose says:

    I wonder where we got the expression “matigas pa sa kulig?”

    Jul 8, 2010 | 7:06 pm

  16. Connie C says:

    Not having planned well last christmas, no lechonero would take my sister’s suckling pig, so armed with ideas from MM’s posts , I took on the challenge. I roasted the suckling in my sister’s La Germana oven. It turned out pretty good with a melt in your mouth goodness, only the skin had softened in parts as relatives arrived later than expected. You have to eat it almost as soon as it gets out of the oven.
    My pangs of guilt ( I was initially told that mama pig goes crazy when they take away the piggy) was assuaged later when a friend told me that is not true.

    Jul 8, 2010 | 7:44 pm

  17. kitchen says:

    just curious… how come those spots does not show when they are cooked? is it like a tattoo that’s embedded in their skin?

    Jul 8, 2010 | 7:55 pm

  18. rose says:

    poor little piggy…..Happy eating

    Jul 8, 2010 | 8:05 pm

  19. Roberto Vicencio says:

    That is a good looking pig.

    Jul 8, 2010 | 8:58 pm

  20. Roberto Vicencio says:

    Could kulig mean the cicada which is called kuliglig in Tagalog?

    Jul 8, 2010 | 8:59 pm

  21. Mimi says:

    The local chicken rice/roast pork hawker stall in my area sells chinese-style lechon de leche for S$188. By special order only. It is flattened crisp. They probably stretch out the marinated piglet on stainless prongs like the ones we saw during a CNY dinner.

    Jul 8, 2010 | 10:11 pm

  22. romwell says:

    i remember years ago my cousins had a pet pig in their home. My uncle bought it small to to serve as lechon in a couple of months time to celebrate the youngest child’s birthday. needless to say they took care of it and the children loved the poor pig.

    when the day finally came the pig was made into lechon when the children were in school. when the party started no oneof the children ate the lechon and the kids were all teary eyed during the entire party. needless to say no more lechon de leche for them to this day.

    Jul 8, 2010 | 10:49 pm

  23. kim says:

    poor thing :'( looks like my baby’s princess piggy bank, named her princess oinky :’)

    Jul 8, 2010 | 10:56 pm

  24. Jake Speed says:

    Dunno if this is weird, but I’m actually getting hungry reading this post. Must be I’m imagining the ‘finished product’ and not the ‘raw material’ in the pics. :)

    Jul 8, 2010 | 11:45 pm

  25. Chris Davis says:

    The little fellow is indeed cute. Growing up, our family always raised a biik or two to fatten up for upcoming festivities — I remember hiding when the time came for the actual slaughter. The actual dressing of the animal wasn’t bad.
    That probably accounts for why I have this odd craving for porkchops when they show “Babe” at the waiting room at the office. ;-)

    Jul 9, 2010 | 12:53 am

  26. Meg says:

    This biik is good because it is organic, go for it MM. Never do lechon or any pork dish with a non-organic pig. The injected hormones are the main cause of estrogen dominance in women. Estrogen dominance results into fatter human beings, fatter than the biik, not counting water retention on top of the resulting fatty tissues.

    Jul 9, 2010 | 2:37 am

  27. junb says:

    The show from Made in Spain with Jose Andres feature a lechon de leche in one of his episode. The lechon de leche cooked on a woodfire oven with a rotating surface to accommodate at least 10 lechon de leche. The lechon is so tender that it can be cut with a plate. The link below shows a restaurant suggested recipe on lechon de leche http://www.mesondecandido.es/ingles.html

    Jul 9, 2010 | 2:03 pm

  28. tintin says:

    @tinsy winsy
    : i love the ZUBULILIT!

    Jul 10, 2010 | 9:28 am

  29. Zita says:

    And this little piggy went… Wee wee wee all the way to the oven :)
    I’m sure it’ll be a great lechon MM.

    Jul 10, 2010 | 8:40 pm

  30. Footloose says:

    Actually a piglet that has been weaned from its mother is no longer a suckling. Same thing with veal, that’s why they still feed them milk (along with lots of antibiotics) long after they have been weaned from their mother. I guess what we’re really after is the young and tender. That’s why we go all out for baby corn, baby bokchoi, baby carrots, baby octopus, and the fragile crunch of a roasted suckling pigskin.

    Jul 10, 2010 | 9:40 pm

  31. EbbaBlue says:

    In my annual mission/vacation trip to Quezon Province, Pinas, I always have lechon as part of the celebration meal (after a yearlong bible class). Last May I instructed my nephew to purchase a piglet for the purpose, and after a whole day of canvassing the village, came out empty. He said all the pigs are more than 50 kilos; and his mom said that I will have a hard time finding one lighter. I insisted that I wanted one that is probably 3-4 months old, and she said “no way – those are still suckling piglet!, its a “sin” to eat them. Sure enough, my neighbor won’t sell me her 20 kilos piglet, for her daughter would cry. Well, I waited till it was “tiangge”time, and I bought the smallest they have . . . 30 kilos! It was still huge. Next year, I will have my cousins, buy a piglet from the market and raise them for me, around March before I come in May. Oh, they all laugh at me when I told them I wanted to prick the skin of the piglet prior to roasting, and also to feed it vegetables and coconuts (no commercial feed). They have not heard of these “absurb” way of prepping the pig . . . all just fora great lechon. Oh well, I shell out the money.. so I will have my say.. and I can eat them all if they don’t want to, hi, hi, hi. My staff from Manila said, they don’t care, they’ll eat it, big or small. I think Lapid Lechon does sell LechondeLeche.

    Jul 11, 2010 | 2:54 am

  32. Marketman says:

    True suckling pigs are about 4-7 kilos live weight, and about 5-6 weeks old maximum, I think. Footloose, by “wean” I meant “taken” from mother at this tender age (sounds horrible no matter how you phrase that), but yes, I suspect this piglet had a few days of feed and was no longer fully on milk. But the lechon was incredibly tender and still quite gelatinous, a sign it was quite young. Ebbablue, you can buy lots of live pigs at 15 kilos and upwards, the main reason for not selling the small ones is economic, they don’t make as much money when the piglets are still small, and want to fatten them up a bit to command a higher price. In the Visayas, for private backyard lechons, many folks cook at 15 kilo live weight or so lechon…

    Jul 11, 2010 | 3:42 am

  33. Footloose says:

    We treat them well and we dispatch them quickly. No need to be squeamish about it. They are a much maligned species by the two major world religions only because they are delicious and moral guardians are jealous and afraid we might grow too fond of them without any counter-vailing propaganda. They do that with everything that gives delight and pleasure.

    Jul 11, 2010 | 4:27 am

  34. EbbaBlue says:

    MM, thanks for the info. Well, I will then call my folks back home and tell them to buy the piglets around April instead. Then they would be about 4-5 weeks old. And I would remind them that they should not get attached to it but rather get excited and antipate the end product – a great tasting lechon.

    Jul 11, 2010 | 6:59 am

  35. nadia says:

    i hope he didn’t suffer too much at his time of death. :( poor little piggy.

    Jul 11, 2010 | 12:01 pm

  36. kayenne says:

    re: Romwel (post# 21)

    i sympathize with your cousins. i had a pet chicken that i raised with my dad from when it was still a chick that i bought from the school fair when i was in first grade. one summer day, it was just gone! to my horror, for lunch, my aunt brought out a steaming plate of chicken adobo! needless to say, i ate mangoes and clover chips as ulam with the rice that day. not that it turned me off chicken adobo after though. =^_^= for me, a pet is a pet! i feel that there is just something wrong with eating one!

    Jul 12, 2010 | 1:58 am

  37. hungrycurious says:

    Footloose, amen :)

    Jul 13, 2010 | 3:51 pm

  38. June says:

    Hi, is there a place in Manila that sells piglets? I’ve been wanting to try to make Chinese roast suckling pig, but I can’t seem to find any that sell fresh piglets. Thinking Aranque Market, but not sure.

    Apr 4, 2011 | 6:17 pm


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