12 Sep2008


When in doubt, just ask. I was at the butchers at Metro Grocery at the Market!Market! Mall, and seeing a small piece of pork belly (liempo) and a whole lot of whole animal parts moving around, I decided to ask, “is it possible to get a much bigger piece of pork belly?” And the sales lady answered, “yes, we actually have half of an entire pork belly…” and the glimmer in my eyes was enough for her to go back into the chillers and bring out at 11+kilo pork belly. Outrageous! Fantastic! I am on a diet and I don’t care! :) The butcher even offered to de-bone the piece for me and let’s just say I was one happy camper…


Next, I rushed to another grocery to find excellent fresh thyme, rosemary and YES sage as well. Back home, I trimmed the pork belly into a rectangle, so that rolling it into a log would be easier and neater. The two kilos plus of trimmings were made into another dish. On the large rectangular piece of pork belly, I massaged in lots of sea salt and cracked black pepper then added several tablespoons of chopped rosemary, thyme and sage (you can add Italian parsley if you have it). I also added several finely minced cloves of garlic and some crushed fennel seeds. I followed a lot of this BBC Recipe, but I also based this on a porchetta that an Italian aunt prepares…


Next, I rolled up the belly and tied it very tightly with kitchen twine. Stick it into a very hot 450+ F oven for 30 minutes, then lower the heat to 300 F for about 2.5 hours more. I also pin-pricked this skin in an almost “trademark” Marketman pork move. Around the last 30 minutes of cooking, I drained most of the fat from the roasting pan, added several peeled and chopped potatoes and sliced fennel bulb and let that roast for about 25-30 minutes until cooked.


You can serve this hot out of the oven (after some 15 minutes of resting), with the potatoes and fennel, or it is excellent cold as well. I should say now that an original porchetta is actually a de-boned and stuffed whole suckling pig, but there are several versions using pork belly and pork shoulder for a “smaller” version of the original…


The potatoes and fennel were a perfect side this, albeit rich due to the pork fat, and the porchetta itself was a real hit in our household. Considering that it was flavored with sage and fennel seed, tastes that are less common to a Filipino palate, everyone who tried this porchetta absolutely raved about it. this piece could easily serve 12-15 people with hearty appetites. And it is perfect for a dinner party as all the work is done ahead of time!




  1. melissa says:

    Yummy MM! Great diet food! Hehe. Where were you able to get the fresh herbs?

    Sep 12, 2008 | 12:03 pm


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  3. Mel says:

    I have been wanting to roast a whole suckling pig for sometime. This substitute idea is great. Your recipe seems really WOW. Home made lechon anytime. I wonder how will this work with tanglad, leeks and lots of garlic?

    Sep 12, 2008 | 12:18 pm

  4. mike says:

    MM the text(font) is very small. I can’t read it.

    Sep 12, 2008 | 12:21 pm

  5. Marketman says:

    mike, look up the text size on your browser and adjust it there… Mel, this is a good substitute for a whole lechon… and yes, I suspect this would work with tanglad, leeks and garlic. lots of pepper and maybe a sprinkle of soy sauce! Yum! But don’t make the aromatics too watery, the leeks need to be chopped up I think… melissa, good herb selection at S&R, Rustans Rockwell and Santis…

    Sep 12, 2008 | 12:38 pm

  6. AleXena says:

    Hooray for pork!!!

    Wonder if you bought the bones and did a ribs recipe on it?=)

    Is this served with gravy?

    Anything made from the liempo part taste good.=) Made me sad even more for not being able to go to the Lechon EB in Cebu=(

    Cheers to you MarketMan!=)

    Sep 12, 2008 | 1:17 pm

  7. lee says:

    i’m crying…

    Sep 12, 2008 | 1:29 pm

  8. alicia says:

    oh wow! I don’t know what I want to eat more.. the pork or those potatoes!

    Sep 12, 2008 | 1:41 pm

  9. sometime_lurker says:


    Sep 12, 2008 | 1:43 pm

  10. [eatingclub] vancouver || js says:

    Excellent! I’ve been wanting to make porchetta for a while. Love this dish.

    Sep 12, 2008 | 1:44 pm

  11. Edwin D. says:

    Thank God, back to basic:food. No rants, whines, ads or blog awards, just food. Whipee!!! Now we all should try this roast! Sure does looks good.

    Sep 12, 2008 | 1:46 pm

  12. leah says:

    This looks so yummy! I wish you did the crackling as well. That rub would have been heavenly on the skin. Yum, yum! Now, I’m getting hungry.

    Sep 12, 2008 | 2:01 pm

  13. che says:

    Hmmmm this is yummy great presentation too… the herbs are so fresh.

    Sep 12, 2008 | 2:41 pm

  14. Rico says:

    Ayoko ng beef. And this is a glorious take on the pork belly!

    Sep 12, 2008 | 2:42 pm

  15. maria says:

    You are so mean MM. I am on a diet but this makes me crave for pork! Excellent execution and you just cannot resist the lure of pricking.

    Sep 12, 2008 | 3:32 pm

  16. Paula says:

    oh my god. that has to be the most sinful and yummy looking pork roast that i’ve ever seen lately. O.o’

    Sep 12, 2008 | 3:47 pm

  17. mikelinparis says:

    this looks excellent! wonder when i’ll have the guts to do this beautiful dish…

    Sep 12, 2008 | 4:09 pm

  18. peterb says:

    Say goodbye to the diet! Seems like a daunting dish to prepare.

    Sep 12, 2008 | 4:33 pm

  19. Marketman says:

    peterb, I only had one thin slice… :) And it is really EASY to prepare, just make sure you start with a rectangular piece of pork belly, have the butcher trim it for you… Once it is in the oven, that’s it! mikel, you can easily do this as long as you can say “ventre de porc?” and the butcher doesn’t burst out laughing because there is some other more logical name for the cut of meat… :) Paula, and the cracklings had the right balance of crisp and “makunat” if you can imagine that… Maria, sorry to tempt you, but when I am in a diet, I distract myself by cooking outrageous dishes for other people… rico, and easy to do! Che, yes, one of the keys to this is an abundance of herbs… leah, I didn’t put herbs on the crackling as the 3 hour roasting would have burned them to a crisp… but oil the skin and sprinkle with salt and pepper! sometime lurker, the aroma from the kitchen for 2-3 hours was enough to replace smelling salts! alicia, the potatoes were particularly good… nothing like cooking in lard I suppose! lee, I can’t make this for the eyeball, there is no oven near the lechonan! :( Alexena, you can make a simple gravy from the drippings and some added broth if you like…

    Sep 12, 2008 | 5:19 pm

  20. James says:

    Wow, just incredible. MM … you’re definitely one of the people who inspired me to cook more here (Leyte) and push past the problems of lack of ingredients.

    Sep 12, 2008 | 6:17 pm

  21. FoodJunkie says:

    OH MY GOD! I love this. I can taste the crackling, the juicy flesh, the herbs. Brilliant.

    Sep 12, 2008 | 6:23 pm

  22. Ryan says:

    Great post! Where do you get the twine by the way?

    Sep 12, 2008 | 6:32 pm

  23. Rhea says:

    Marketman said: “I am on a diet and I don’t care! :)”
    Marketman said: “I only had one thin slice… :)”

    I’m on a diet and I don’t care too! And if I was there, I would have eaten more than one thin slice…

    even now I’m drooling…

    Sep 12, 2008 | 6:52 pm

  24. Apicio says:

    You need a grill press to turn out a good sandwich cubano, also thin slices of roast pork from the rolled slab you already have, cheese and pickles and a mini-baguette. But you need lots of fresh mint to make a great pitcher of mojito to turn your good cubano into a great cubano.

    Sep 12, 2008 | 7:02 pm

  25. corrine says:

    Thanks for the porchetta recipe! I went to Farmer’s Market in San Francisco and missed out on the porchetta that Eating Asia’s Robyn featured. Sad to say the guy who sells that fantastic porchetta does so only on Saturdays until 2pm? boohoohoo! I will certainly try this one. Thanks again!!!!

    Sep 12, 2008 | 7:47 pm

  26. cha says:

    you’re mean MM! i’m “trying” to eat raw vegetables for a week now,(health issues) but when i saw your blog oh my!.. the mind is willing but the body is weak!!! give me that pork!! hehhehehhehe. love your blog!!

    Sep 12, 2008 | 8:11 pm

  27. estella says:

    you’re so funny when you said that you’re on a diet and you don’t care. that’s my attitude, too! i do have all the herbs that you used in my garden. now i know what to do with my sage…this bush is getting thick and i don’t know what to use it with. i would surely experiment with this yummy recipe this weekend. thanks, mm…

    Sep 12, 2008 | 8:44 pm

  28. mikel says:

    poitrine MM

    Sep 12, 2008 | 8:54 pm

  29. anski says:

    great looking (and i’m sure fantastic tasting too)porchetta MM!
    i’m having a dinner party next week and i hope i’ll be able to duplicate this one….
    i’m sure the gang will love it!
    lipitor please… :-)

    Sep 12, 2008 | 9:17 pm

  30. sister says:

    Look great, next time stick the tied and rolled porchetta in the fridge for 24-36 hours to let the flavours permeate the meat. To keep it really moist I put it on a rack in a covered roaster with a little water on the bottom, about half an inch. Steam the porchetta covered for 2-3 hours depending on weight (25 min. per lb) at 275 F. until tender through and through. Then uncover and move the prchetta, rack and all, to an open shallow roasting pan and bake at 400 F to crisp and brown for another 30 minutes. Cool for half an hour before slicing. Of course you can skip all this like you did and depend on the fat to keep it from drying out but try this way next time. I can only serve porchetta to relatives like I’m doing this weekend because most others are still horrified at the cholesterol count of belly pork even if it’s made it’s way to Daniel five years ago. Funny we should be on the same wave lenght without consultation. Pork belly is available at any butcher in Chinatown or at Greek or Italian meat stores. Special order only on the UES. I bring my chopped up herbs and spices to the butcher so he can put them in before rolling the pork belly up and . Make friends with your butcher, don’t forget him at Christmas. The “suki” relationship works everywhere.

    On another note maybe I should find you a table top oven for your Cebu lechonan site, they are very handy and come in all sizes.

    Sep 12, 2008 | 9:38 pm

  31. Marketman says:

    sister, I LOVE the refrigeration period to infuse the flavors into the meat. And the steaming process is useful too… this one turned out juicy but it could be juicier still. This butcher at Metro grocery will be my third “suki” butcher in the city. And these are names I do not share, not even on this blog… :)

    Sep 12, 2008 | 9:53 pm

  32. Glecy says:

    Estrella, you said you have alot of sage from your garden. You can try this recipe;
    Butternut squash ravioli
    Sage leaves ( whole)
    Freshly grated nutmeg
    Parmesan cheese
    Boil your ravioli until it’s cook al dente.
    In your pan add butter and saute your sage leaves until crispy
    then add your ravioli, grate nutmeg and add paremesan cheese. Viola! Enjoy!

    Sep 12, 2008 | 10:20 pm

  33. estella says:

    glecy, that really sounds like a good recipe. thanks for sharing it with me. i will make it this sunday and i will let you know how it turns out, okay?

    Sep 12, 2008 | 11:50 pm

  34. Gerry says:

    The refrigeration method dries the skin making it crispier when baked. I was experementing with making Lechon Macao similar to the one found in 168 Mall, and refrigerating the belly for at least a day was one of methods I used. I have not yet found the technique to get the skin crispy short of frying it, but I hope to get it right someday.

    Sep 13, 2008 | 1:22 am

  35. RoBStaR says:

    MM, very protective of your butcher… haha you sound like me…when a friend of a friend asked me for a butcher.. this is how i replied..

    “Oh… u know what… I called the place today… its closed.. yea.. umm over the weekend…. It closed.. no more meat… burned down or something.. big huge fire… people were scurrying in trying to grab a piece of steak and what not… its was horrible.. horrible…
    Tell your co worker but.. am sorry… the place is no more.
    Am just as surprised as you are.. greatly saddened….pedro.. I will miss your steaks….”

    hahhaha I’d be damn if i have to compete for my meats and swine..

    Sep 13, 2008 | 1:23 am

  36. Rudy Portugal says:

    MM, you are damn good! I read your blog all the time. Keep it up. I mean writing not anything else. HE HEHH

    Sep 13, 2008 | 1:57 am

  37. EbbaMyra says:

    I did not know this dish has a name. I experimented on this style of cooking pork-liempo by following how my mom cooks her lechon kawali. Just like Sister’s first part of her blog, I refrigerate mine for 2 hours, then “steam” cook in the oven for 1 hour. I then cool it off, and then refrigerate them overnight. Next day, I baked them uncovered. Ohhh, my mom also slice the skin prior to steaming.

    Sep 13, 2008 | 3:43 am

  38. Nana says:

    Wow MarketMan!
    I am not of Philippino origin but I really love your blog. I wonder if I can get a pok belly in Canada!
    All the best

    Sep 13, 2008 | 3:44 am

  39. meg says:

    if i were pork, i would want to be a porchetta. :-)

    Sep 13, 2008 | 4:46 am

  40. sister says:

    Marketman, I know you are very much into the “suki” system, and prepare gifts for your sukis at Christmas; the comment was meant for those in the US who think it’s okay to pester the butcher with a dozen questions each time and then buy a 1/4 lb. of chopped meat. Having an established relationship with purveyors is very useful when push comes to shove, as when I want 2 boned capons on December 23rd for galantina. Butchers also like to show off the skills that they seldom have an opportunity to display when most customers just want a chop or two. My butcher was delighted to oblige with the request.

    Sep 13, 2008 | 8:14 am

  41. sister says:

    Oh, and if you have a really cooperative butcher ask him to remove the skin in one piece with about a quarter inch of fat below it. Have him roll up the skinned seasoned roast first, then enclose it in the skin, covering all sides. Tie it up and make sure you turn the roast on the rack over several times towards the end so it is brown and crisp on all sides.

    Sep 13, 2008 | 8:30 am

  42. sister says:

    Several blocks from the Vatican near the Central Market is this fabulous food store and late in the afternoon there’s a line around the corner of locals buying porchetta, hot right out of the ovens. I bought half a kilo and it was the best pork I have ever had. They also had a fabulous selection of take out as well, antipasti, pastas, main courses, salads, etc.

    Sep 13, 2008 | 8:42 am

  43. deska says:

    This really looks yummy MM. Gotta try this soon.

    Sep 13, 2008 | 9:57 am

  44. dragon says:

    YEHEY MM! I have caught up finally—have read all the archives; am up to date, until I leave for Scotland on the 22nd, then I will be backlogged for another 3 weeks. I kinda know how Silly Lolo feels when he disappears from months on end & then tries to catch up…There’s a resto chain here in Melbourne called La Porchetta; haven’t been in there, don’t know what it’s about. Melburnians care to comment???

    Sep 13, 2008 | 10:38 am

  45. Cecilia MQ says:

    wow this looks so good and yummy to eat. i think i’m making me some of this hehehe forget the cholesterol and all. Thanksgiving is coming soon so this will replace the ham on my menu. My family would love this. Thank’s

    Sep 13, 2008 | 11:01 am

  46. Apicio says:

    Sister, is that the one that prominently displays a warrant from the Vatican on their wall beside the blown up autographed shot of a peeved looking former Cardinal Ratzinger? That’s where he sends his gopher to pick up eisbein and schweinhaxe when he gets tired of the nuns’ blessed cooking you know.

    Sep 13, 2008 | 11:14 am

  47. kurzhaar says:

    Mmm…porchetta. One should start with the best pork possible, since it is really such a simple dish. The best is from the old-fashioned type of pig, not the usual bred-for-leanness (and tastelessness) pork that’s most widely available here in the US. I refuse to buy such, but fortunately I am now able to purchase pork from a local farmer who raises Tamworth reds…talk about tasty pork! I currently have half of an entire pork belly, part of which is shortly to be turned into home-made bacon, and the rest probably cooked in different ways. Maybe a rolled “porchetta” belly.

    On the theme of good meat…Marketman, you must visit Eataly in Torino one day. It is a true mecca for food and wine lovers. I had the pleasure of spending a few hours there earlier this year and splurging on the most amazing meats (fresh and cured), cheeses, etc. I thought it was nicer than Peck’s (Milan) by far…not fancier, but truer to the good food/slow food movement. I am sure you would enjoy yourself.

    Sep 13, 2008 | 11:15 am

  48. joey says:

    This is my favorite way to roast pork! After making porchetta I will never go back to porkloin again (all the fat makes everything so much juicier)! :) I’m going to experiment with different stuffing. Pork belly is one of my favorite cuts of any meat :) Just roasted a slab last night (coincidence!)…wanted to do the pressed one you posted about but we wanted it for dinner already so will have to wait for the next pork belly to do that :)

    Sep 13, 2008 | 12:32 pm

  49. zena says:

    This looks sooo good! I can’t imagine how you can stick to one thin slice, MM. This would’ve destroyed my diet for sure.

    Sep 13, 2008 | 2:02 pm

  50. betty q. says:

    …a nice accompaniment to this mouth watering main course would be GREEN TOMATO CHUTNEY, MM!… to balance all that fat dripping while it’s being roasted! I harvested all my tomatoes…red and green. The Green To mato Chutney turned out really well….I don’t have enough that I asked the neighbours for their green tomatoes. They gave me this funny look but I told them to hold their look and opinion until I give them a jar of this chutney!!! At least I’m halfway done with my Christmas goodies for this year…I’m just left with 2 things to bake…shortbread in tins and my wicked chocolate cake!!! Then I can breathe and SLEEP!!! How about you, MM …have you started your jam making yet? If I get the chance to go there, I would like to volunteer as your sous chef !!!

    Sep 14, 2008 | 4:03 am

  51. betty q. says:

    It is sooo true, Sister, what you have said about suki relationships working everywhere. Here, our sanitation guy and I have become friends. He would go the extra mile for me…like for instance, there are days when I sleep in and forget to put out the garbage bins on the curb or when we are away, upon noticing that our bin is not on the curb, he would stop and check if there is garbage in our bins roll out the bin….sometimes, I have a lot of green waste and he doesn’t mind collecting all of them….In return, he is ALWAYS on my HALLOWEEN and CHRISTMAS list ever since we moved here….and anytime I have Indian Candy and baked goodies like pies and cakes I give him a few pieces and call it “energy boosters”…

    Sep 14, 2008 | 6:24 am

  52. sister says:

    Apicio, it might be the same place but I was so busy inspecting the take out offerings that I really wasn’t paying attention to what was on the wall. I’ll try and find the name and address which I have somewhere or check it out again next time I’m in Rome. Actually it was the maitre d’ at Dal Bolognese who gave me the address after I asked him where to get the mostarda that was served with the Bollito Misto.

    Sep 14, 2008 | 7:23 am

  53. Marketman says:

    Sister and Apicio, I think the shop you are referring to is Franchi, a salumeria or delicatesen, a bit of an understatement, on Via Cola di Rienzo, a short walk from the Vatican. Superb looking take out at nosebleed prices. If Mrs. MM recalls correctly, a seafood salad on offer was Euro30 per pound or was it kilo? Yipes! But it was a fabulous store… and the cheeses, truffles, etc. I did a post on black truffles once, and the photographed from the windows of Franchi. Just next door is another food store called Castroni, that has an international selection of food items… things like Filipino vinegar, or Indonesian kecap manis, also at exorbitant prices… but again, a wonderful store to browse in. Both stores are across from a very old market, with a beautiful entrance… within you can get all of the fresh produce that is in season… If the nuns and priests and Pope do take out from Franchi, they are eating very well indeed… :)

    Sep 14, 2008 | 8:20 am

  54. risa says:

    Hi MM, I just thought of something. Would this recipe benefit from brining as well in addition to the refrigeration?

    Sep 15, 2008 | 10:38 am

  55. Marketman says:

    risa, yes, brining might do it wonders as well… :)

    Sep 15, 2008 | 10:40 am

  56. dhayL says:

    aha, it is pork belly instead! :)

    Sep 18, 2008 | 10:59 pm

  57. Winky Buo says:

    aargh! makes me want to get on a plane, travel 19 hours, and buy a whole lechon from Alejo’s in Cebu. One can dream…

    Oct 3, 2008 | 11:14 am

  58. Cecilia says:

    This is another post that makes me oh, so happy!!! Thanks, MM.

    Nov 5, 2009 | 4:58 pm


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