28 Jun2012

The classic Pinoy “mad dash” to offer a very similar product, in this case, boneless pork belly, is on in the Queen City of Cebu. In the next few months, more and more similar retailers will inevitably appear, and it will be one of the latest pork crazes for sure, just like it seems Balamban liempo was last year, and roasted chicken was before that, etc. Cary’s is a long-time purveyor of lechons in Cebu and a respected brand name. So is CNT, Alejo’s, Rico’s, etc. and I wonder how many will join the bandwagon, and how many new folks will set up their own stalls. As for consumers, they seem to be easily taken with the same product presented in different guises… We used to have inihaw na liempo, lechon kawali, and now, boneless pork belly. I wish all lechon purveyors in Cebu well, and I do believe healthy competition is always good for the consumer. But please don’t say Zubuchon copied the idea from you, okay? That claim could potentially land you a lawsuit. :) Like I said, we have had this on the Zubuchon menu since June 2011, but by no means have we ever claimed any ownership over it. Our version has no MSG added at all, no mixes, no shortcuts. We roast it wrapped around natural bamboo poles and we posted a pretty comprehensive recipe and list of ingredients on previous posts on this blog for all to see. I just made one last weekend in our backyard in Makati, so it’s really simple to do at home as well, see the photos below and ignore the one with Marketman in boxer shorts, hahaha. If you can’t be bothered to cook your own, you can order one instead. “Boneless Zubuchons” are flying out the doors with clients who insist on checking them in as baggage on their trips to Manila. For inquiries, please call 032.254.7342 and look for Yoli or Victor or Eva. They range in size from roughly 5-7 kilos cooked weight, and a six kilo Boneless Zubuchon would easily feed 20 hungry folks. Price is PHP480 per kilo. We do NOT airfreight the boneless lechons unaccompanied, as we are concerned about the total transit time for the meat (a much smaller and exposed cut of meat rather than a whole roasted pig).

For this version of Marketman’s whole roasted boneless pork belly, I used a rather western ingredient profile, not quite a porchetta, just imbento… Lots of kosher salt and cracked black pepper, three whole heads of slow roasted garlic, two handfuls of slow roasted shallots, lots of fresh thyme, italian parsley and rosemary. Dried whole Italian red chilies. Good olive oil.

I didn’t have a good needle to sew the pork up so we had to wrap twine around the belly instead. I actually like the effect this technique imparts, but for folks who want a smoother skin, you may have to “suture” it. Does that make sense? Dry the skin surface, add salt and slather with olive oil.

Roast over coals and watch the intensity of the heat closely. This will take 80-110 minutes, depending on the size of your pork belly and the heat source. Use a meat thermometer to be sure and take the meat off the coals when the internal temp hits 160F internally.

The skin blistered BEAUTIFULLY. I know, some people define beautiful skin as smooth and evenly colored. I love my pork skin, blistered, bubbled, light and evilly good looking… :)

Remove from the bamboo pole, remove all of the abaca twine and turn it right side up on the platter…

Boneless Roasted Pork Belly a la Marketman. It was delicious, with the crispest skin ever, and absolutely no sauces necessary. Served this with a leafy green salad and a nice hearty rice and prawn paella-ish dish.



  1. Zoi says:

    Sarappppp! Wish i can do that here in our little back/front yard!

    Jun 28, 2012 | 1:54 pm


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  3. pixienixie says:

    So of course after you told us to ignore the shorts, I went ahead and searched for the pic. LOL

    I wish I can have a taste of that. Maybe when I’ve saved enough for a trip to Cebu. :D

    Jun 28, 2012 | 2:13 pm

  4. bakerwannabe says:

    Wonder which is more attractive, the boneless pork belly roasting on the pit or the ternong t-shirt and shorts. Color coordinated talaga. he.. he .. he ..

    Jun 28, 2012 | 2:14 pm

  5. millet says:

    that is a real beauty! i can almost feel the crackle on my teeth!

    Jun 28, 2012 | 2:21 pm

  6. Marketman says:

    pixienixie, they are orange reindeer on the shorts, a christmas gift from the teen I think… I had just woken up shortly before this, hence the disheveled outfit/look… :)

    Jun 28, 2012 | 2:24 pm

  7. boopsie says:

    your my idol pa rin super marketman!
    Will try to replicate this at home

    Jun 28, 2012 | 2:29 pm

  8. David B says:

    nakakagutom! wish i can fly to cebu now

    Jun 28, 2012 | 3:00 pm

  9. Faith says:

    Hi Marketman! Any chance you’ll be selling this Boneless Zubuchon out of your Makati home? (A trip to Cebu doesn’t seem to be in the near future for me yet.) :)

    Jun 28, 2012 | 3:06 pm

  10. sophie says:

    hi MM, this look sooooo good and i can smell the roasting from your garden (hahaha, how i wish we were neighbors). … lol! shorts and shirt color coordinated as mentioned by @bakerwannabe, hehehe.

    Jun 28, 2012 | 3:14 pm

  11. Sleepless in Seatlle says:

    Will try making boneless pork belly roast on the 4th of July,Will use my Showtime rotisserie,for I won’t have a patient hubby ,who would watch the roast for 80 min.outside:)Question MM ,Just in case we do this outside in charcoal, Do you hand crank the bamboo like lechon,or let it stay at coal and turn it every so often?
    OT, the Zubuchon facebook page is ridiculously awesome!! it is a torture to look at those pix,so hungry..so far away.

    Jun 28, 2012 | 3:38 pm

  12. josephine says:

    Looks absolutely delicious, but those shorts are quite distracting.

    Jun 28, 2012 | 3:41 pm

  13. Lissa says:

    MM, I “copied” your pork-skin-as-pin-cushion technique to wonderful results on my homemade lechon kawali (with bones!) I don’t know if sunbathing my pork for about 6 hours also helped, but the skin is one of the crispest I’ve had. Thanks!

    Jun 28, 2012 | 3:44 pm

  14. Marketman says:

    Sleepless, it didn’t require CONSTANT turning, but it was turned pretty often. I took turns with our cook, and it was labor intensive, but not anywhere near as hard as a whole lechon. The bamboo was short, the meat only 5-6 kilos, and the fire wasn’t as infernally hot… Maybe ply your husband with a few beers beforehand, have a tv within viewing distance and you may manage this yet. :)

    Jun 28, 2012 | 3:45 pm

  15. meekerz says:

    The “mad dash” has reached Quezon City too. I saw a new-ish tarp signage offering boneless pork belly as well.

    Jun 28, 2012 | 3:45 pm

  16. Marketman says:

    Lissa, yes, the sun-drying would have worked wonders as well… but I would be worried about leaving uncooked pork out in the sun for that long, possible bacteria contamination could be lethal! :) If your pork was already boiled before you sun-dried, that would be less worrisome… maybe next time just dry it out in the fridge overnight. Then wipe very conscientiously with paper towels the next day. Dry skin = crisp skin most of the time…

    Jun 28, 2012 | 3:52 pm

  17. Bong says:

    Nice shorts!

    Jun 28, 2012 | 3:57 pm

  18. Sleepless in Seatlle says:

    MM.. LOL !! will do, my hubby will work for beer:):) Seems like it will be doable..Never had a taste of this before..i made up my mind,if we are going to do this..we have to do it right.Thank you for quick response.It will be fun ,after the good “advice”

    Jun 28, 2012 | 4:19 pm

  19. Sharon O says:

    Woo hoo Sexy Legs! :-D

    Jun 28, 2012 | 4:21 pm

  20. Marketman says:

    Sleepless, if you want more of a pinoy taste, try a stuffing of garlic, onions, lemongrass, a bit of kikkoman, bay leaves, chilies if you like spicy, salt, pepper, etc. Brine your pork for a few hours beforehand. Dry, dry, dry the skin with paper towels before roasting.

    Jun 28, 2012 | 4:22 pm

  21. Cheryl says:

    here comes the original and/or copycat Pinoy attitude, ung gaya-gaya, crab mentality – very Pinoy. hayz. but we know the original boneless pork belly is from Zubuchon, no doubt. but i really hope you have a branch at departure area in T2 Mr. MM, in case we are stranded. hehehe. and my friends would surely looove this as pasalubong, kasi wala namang ganyan dito sa uae. hehhe

    Jun 28, 2012 | 4:30 pm

  22. Marketman says:

    Cheryl, bawal ata mag-import ng lechon into the UAE, no?

    Jun 28, 2012 | 4:39 pm

  23. Sleepless in Seatlle says:

    Thanks MM!! Really..Really.. appreciate this and quite giddy^_* for your response,Will do the Pinoy style. I am an “rabid” reader of your blog,done a lot of your recipe,even budbud kabog with success,This means a lot to me, your recipe sharing had open a new horizon on food for me.Thanks again.

    Jun 28, 2012 | 4:58 pm

  24. Mimi says:

    This is what I miss, the backyard ihawan! Here you have to reserve the bbq pit in advance, pay a non-refundable fee and carry everthing to that location, and under time pressure if somebody else booked a time slot after you. Aiyoh!

    Jun 28, 2012 | 5:20 pm

  25. pixienixie says:

    yes, upon careful scrutiny *gasp* I was able to figure out that the orange thingies are reindeer. hehe.

    I was also under the impression that the belly had to be turned constantly, and until reading your comment that that’s not the case, I was completely contented with just planning a trip to Cebu to have a taste of the now rather in/famous “boneless pork belly”. Now I’m seriously considering trying my hand at this, although that will entail lots of extra work (we don’t have an outdoor grill, yadda yadda).

    Thanks for the mouthwatering pictures MM! :D

    Jun 28, 2012 | 5:55 pm

  26. scott says:

    LOL…MM in boxers! Nice legs…hehehe. on the serious side…the pork looks absolutely delicious!!!!

    Jun 28, 2012 | 6:16 pm

  27. Rona Y says:

    What?!?!? Boneless pork belly is patented! All you copiers will be at the mercy of a genius 18-year old if you do not terminate your boneless pork belly experiments immediately!

    On a serious note, I love how you match your t-shirt with the reindeer. :-)

    Jun 28, 2012 | 6:16 pm

  28. greens_blossoms says:

    Thanks for sharing the “controversial” boneless lechon, MM…will COPY this for sure! ;-)… and thank you too for the ‘distraction’ of the legs errr the shorts….

    Jun 28, 2012 | 7:46 pm

  29. Edwin says:

    Maybe that kid joined one of your contests and is too bitter over the loss…

    Jun 28, 2012 | 8:15 pm

  30. Angel says:

    MM, is it possible to achieve this crackling skin through a turbo broiler or an oven?

    Jun 28, 2012 | 10:30 pm

  31. aprilwilkie says:

    drooling….i am going for a trip to ur resto this weekend, as my cousin from manila is arriving…deffo pigging out!

    Jun 28, 2012 | 10:39 pm

  32. Artisan Chocolatier says:


    Sorry MM, couldn’t help it.

    Jun 28, 2012 | 10:48 pm

  33. Stewart L. Sy says:

    I will be heading over to my pork purveyor today! I’ll definitely try the Pinoy style but I won’t be able to cook over charcoal as our resident’s association bans charcoal grills on our back deck, so I’ll do this with my rotisserie over a gas grill. I’m so glad that I was able to taste Zubuchon 3 weeks ago at the Mango Ave. branch. The cheeks were the best part! ;-) the chicharon was the best!


    Jun 28, 2012 | 11:05 pm

  34. lorraine says:

    gaaahhh…now i’m hungry..wishing i was in cebu.

    Jun 29, 2012 | 2:52 am

  35. Cris Ebreo says:

    sana this time matuloy na kami sa Cebu…kakatakam naman yan super…

    Jun 29, 2012 | 3:01 am

  36. wysgal says:

    Angel: I’ve made pork belly / ribs with crackling in an oven. Key is to ensure the skin is dry (sprinkle with salt to draw out the water, and wipe the salt off before roasting). Then pop it into a very hot oven (i.e. 475-500F) for 25 minutes, and lower temp to 375F. Additional cooking time should be around 35 minutes per pound.

    Jun 29, 2012 | 3:26 am

  37. EbbaBlue says:

    I actually have a 4 lbs. “liempo” at the ref right now (and kitchen twine), I wanted to this in the oven and Wysgal, I might just follow how you did it.

    In sort of similar topic – – I was in Pinas this last May, had my dream of having a 1 month and 2 weeks old “piggling” into lechon (Fed only with vegetables and table left over – no store bought feed). Roasted in front yard (with my staff & relatives watching)…. it was goooddddd…. but…. I stuffed the inside with almost everything that MM put in his posted recipe.. but… I patted and massaged it with Korean Marinate! It made the skins soft and rubbery, and almost burn until I had to stopped the lechonero from continously “brushing” it with the sauce. Like I said, the taste was awesome.

    I should have just used salt & peppers with the organic palm/coconut oil.

    Jun 29, 2012 | 4:20 am

  38. Monique says:

    Hi MM! I’m soo drooling right now. My friend is going to Cebu this weekend. Hope she can get some of those boneless pork belly for me. I gave her the address to all of
    your branches so she doesn’t have an excuse not to get some for me. Yum!!!!!!

    Jun 29, 2012 | 6:18 am

  39. dianne says:

    MM, how many comments will it take for you to open up a store or just sell your masterpieces even just “by order” here in Manila? hehe :) please please please… in the meantime, will just sked a trip to Bohol with matching Cebu sidetrip to experience Zubuchon…

    Jun 29, 2012 | 6:41 am

  40. PITS, MANILA says:

    loving how it looks and imagining how it smells and dreaming of how it tastes and planning another trip to your place of business and i should shut-up … :)

    Jun 29, 2012 | 7:22 am

  41. Dodi says:

    Lol! 18 year old genius is going to have a heck of time suing everyone cooking the “IT”dish.

    Jun 29, 2012 | 7:55 am

  42. Ricky says:

    Your the man Market Man!

    Jun 29, 2012 | 8:37 am

  43. Lissa says:

    MM, the liempo was boiled for an hour before sun-drying, not to worry. I followed the recipe in the Kulinarya cookbook, but skipped the oven-drying in favor of sun-bathing :)

    Jun 29, 2012 | 8:56 am

  44. dhanggit says:

    With this week’s craze on the DTI patented label of “boneless lechon” :-) I’m thinking of doing one for my husband’s birthday this weekend. But i’ll do mine oven version. No space for roasting and besides my neighbors might complain hehehe

    Jun 29, 2012 | 9:10 am

  45. pixienixie says:

    MM, this is completely off-topic, but I chanced upon your “MarketMan’s Crab with Dill Mayonnaise” recipe for Yummy while I was looking for recipes online! I don’t know if you’ve mentioned it in one of your posts here, though (I can’t remember; but then, my memory’s awful). The date says “June 24, 2012”, but one of the tags that came with it is “March 2009”. Oh boy, now I’m confused….. @_@


    Jun 29, 2012 | 11:25 am

  46. Laarni says:

    wow! after so many visits (office trips) in Cebu, i finally had the chance to dine in Zubuchon last June. I was pestering my friends that our vacation in Cebu will not be complete unless I try your Zubuchon. We stayed in Sampaguita Suites, and lo and behold, just across the street is Zubuchon! we fell in – love with your Kamias shake (but i still love the Kalamansi!) and lechon. it was truly worth the wait :D

    Jun 29, 2012 | 12:40 pm

  47. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    Up to a year or maybe a year and a half, I noticed that a few Filipino restaurants offering lechon on the west coast, stateside, were making a point that their lechon was ‘Cebu’, ‘Cebuano’ or ‘Cebu-Style’.

    Jun 29, 2012 | 1:02 pm

  48. terrey says:

    @Getter Dragon 1: i tend to agree with what you said. just got back from the states and indeed most of the lechons (had two of them while there) are said to be prepared Cebu style!

    Jun 29, 2012 | 2:28 pm

  49. Marketman says:

    pixienixie, yes, it’s an old recipe I wrote for an article in Yummy together with Joey of 80Breakfasts, Socky, etc. Maybe they just chose to republish the recipe online on their website… but I definitely gave them permission to use this recipe in 2009, and happy they are re-using it so folks can try it… thanks for the heads up… :)

    Jun 29, 2012 | 4:31 pm

  50. Angel says:

    Thank you wysgal for the helpful tip. Will definitely make boneless liempo this weekend :-)

    Jun 30, 2012 | 12:53 am

  51. ted says:

    This boneless lechon is now being offered in my neck of the woods as well.


    Jun 30, 2012 | 3:41 am

  52. Getter Dragon 1 says:

    @ Terry – where were you visiting? Obviously, I’m trying to make a connection. Hope your trip here was fun.

    @ Ted – LOL…see what I mean.

    Jun 30, 2012 | 6:32 am

  53. Faith says:

    Hi Marketman, Will definitely try this in Cambodia! ;) & Will do this with Kampot Salt & Pepper. I have to say thank you for your recipe of Bacolod Chicken Inasal. Prepared it last Father’s day and other expats here loved it! Best grilled chicken ever!

    Jun 30, 2012 | 12:36 pm

  54. Marketman says:

    ted, thanks for that! Amazing how fast and common it is becoming! From Italy to Cebu to California… how’s that for global?! :) Faith, glad the chicken inasal recipe worked for you, it’s one of my favorites and a real reader favorite as well.

    Jun 30, 2012 | 2:00 pm

  55. AM says:

    All the lechon pictures always look so gooooodddd and yummy!!!

    Jul 1, 2012 | 3:57 am

  56. Roddy says:

    MM – doesn’t the twine burn off?

    Jul 1, 2012 | 3:40 pm

  57. MP says:

    Hubby said: “I bet the genius 18-year old brat is now writing to the owners of Cang…”

    Jul 1, 2012 | 10:47 pm

  58. Marketman says:

    Roddy, we use abaca twine that does not burn over coals. For our lechons, they last several hours over the intense heat…

    Jul 1, 2012 | 10:53 pm

  59. Corin says:

    yay! drooooling! I prefer the blistered skin also… roasted beautifully! Oh my! I’m 2 months preggy and craving for this… got to have this ASAP! Sana meron din kayong branch here in manila.

    Jul 2, 2012 | 5:26 pm

  60. tipat says:

    Love your shorts, and I wish we could go back to Cebu for more Zubuchon as well as to taste this one…I’ve tried bringing home the Zubuchon several times but it ALWAYS tastes better at your resto. :)

    Jul 2, 2012 | 6:00 pm

  61. EbbaBlue says:

    MM, Wysgal: I tried cooking this rolled-pork belly in my oven, it came out good (skin not so crispy), but flavor wise, it passed my american husband’s taste. But… gosh….. the splatter it made on my 2 months old oven… I will have to clean my oven much longer that it took to cook the pork. I told my husband that I will have to improvise roasting it in our gas grill outside; just have to invent how to rotate it..

    I tried the “self-cleaning” feature on our oven… and it did not work (splatter was all over the sides and top of the oven).

    Jul 2, 2012 | 10:25 pm

  62. Mom-Friday says:

    OMG!!! I’m really excited that my husband is now on a business trip there in Cebu… I can finally have a chance to try Zubuchon, and hope he’ll be able to buy a few kilos to bring home! :9

    Jul 3, 2012 | 6:20 pm

  63. Grace says:

    Here’s one version from Cagayan de Oro: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cagayan-de-oro/feature/2012/04/25/tasty-liempo-218234
    And I quote: “The lechon liempo is an alternative to the real lechon and a twist of your traditional pork belly.”

    Jul 3, 2012 | 11:39 pm

  64. Paul says:

    I wanted to try and make one of these yummy looking babies but I tried to buy a big pork belly(as u mentioned- like 5 to 6 kilos) in the supermarket but its been like a week now and I still can’t find one. The lady and guy there in the Meat section just told me that all of the pork bellies were sold out already or are reserved. I have been to like 10 supermarket locations for the past week already but they keep telling me the same reasons. Maybe I will just have to buy it instead of making it.

    Jul 5, 2012 | 4:14 am

  65. Marketman says:

    Paul, you have to tell the butchers to take one out of the freezers for you. They have done this for me at Rustan’s, S&R and Metro grocery at Market!Market! Be persistent but polite, I find after some cajoling (which shouldn’t be necessary at all), the whole bellies mysteriously appear. Have them debone it for you, but keep the meaty bones for a brilliant pork rib sinigang. If the store sells sliced liempo, believe me, they have whole slabs of liempo lurking back there somewhere. :)

    Jul 5, 2012 | 8:55 am

  66. farida says:

    ayayay, that picture looks sooo good, MM.

    Jul 5, 2012 | 12:00 pm

  67. Ken Russell Salvador says:

    I was wondering where I could get some fennel bulb/seed/tops here in Cebu. I think it would go well with roast pork.

    Dec 30, 2012 | 9:13 pm

  68. Justin Congmon says:

    Hi Market Man, I was just wondering what kind of brand of pork you used for this? Is it imported brand or still the native pork (dark haired) one’s? And lastly, because of local charcoal getting more expensive, would you suggest cooking it in the oven? what are the pro’s and con’s for cooking it in an brick oven vs over charcoal? Thank you! :)

    Oct 7, 2013 | 9:11 pm


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