“Lechichor” (Lechon, Chicken & Chorizo) a la Marketman…

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So the lechon was carrying twin chickens, that were in turn surrounded by several dozen homemade chorizos. That was the experiment a few weeks back when a supplier sent us a “U.S. sourced pig that was frozen and sent across the Pacific” and is now in use by some local places that cook lechon… It was a sample, so we decided to do anything but the ordinary.


First we cooked up several dozen homemade chorizos which we don’t add food coloring to, hence their somewhat pallid hue…

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…then we stuck two chickens into the lechon cavity, along with lots of aromatics and the chorizos, closed it up and roasted for some 2.5-3.0 hours over coal.


The results were a bit alien looking (imagine cutting into the side of a pig, to find two fragrant but almost poached looking chickens while little chorizos come tumbling out…) but the aroma was something seriously appetizing.


We have done chickens in pigs before and they turn out amazing. Salty and tender and melt-in-your-mouth goodness without the classic caramelization of skin that one tends to look for in a bland chicken. The crew were amazed. But what wasn’t amazing was the quality of the U.S. sourced pig. The meat turned out dry and way too lean, and while the skin was good, it wasn’t as good as a local pig’s skin. So no worries, we are strongly bound to local sourcing on our backyard raised pigs, and we are pretty sure any discerning diner can tell the difference between a local and imported lechon. Note, “discerning” diner. :)


And just in case you wanted a visual for the “Alien” quip…


43 Responses

  1. Nice, the Philippine Turducken! :D
    Reminds me of this:

    Trimalchio makes a show about being strict with his slaves ,calling for the chef and claiming that the pig hasn’t been gutted… Trimalchio calls on the chef to gut the pig for them there and then and once the cook cuts into it, out pour sausages and blood puddings.
    –Dinner with Trimalchio, Satyricon
    by Gaius Petronius, 1st century A.D.


  2. There’s an interesting article in Businessweek about live American boars and sows being imported into the Philippines. The goal is to improve the hog industry here, which apparently not very genetically efficient. The article came out just last December 21 and can be read for free in the Bloomberg website. I just used the search terms Businessweek pigs.

  3. Monty, if it’s to make our own pigs more lean and more efficient at growing meat rather than fat… that may be good for farmers, but not necessarily for taste and quality… I always thought the main reason we weren’t competitive in prices is that all of our feed is imported from North America and other countries (probably China) as well…

  4. One word comes to mind, nimiety.

    @Ros, glad to know another Market Manila visitor also reads Cena Trimalchionis.

  5. The commercial pigs will probably get leaner as their genetics “improve”. This won’t bode well for pork chops or shoulder cuts, but it would probably work well for the pork belly which could certainly be better with a little less fat. These pigs really won’t cut it though as good quality lechons.

    On the other hand, I heard of someone who tried to make a lechon out of a Berkshire pig, which is also popularly known as kurobota pork. I just wasn’t able to find out how it turned out.

  6. Seriously mind-expanding post and comments today – just encountered Trimalchio recently (Mary Beard’s recent book SPQR) and MM, the visuals great – taking turducken to a higher level. Namit !! and nimiety …

  7. Great book by a great classicist. When Rome fell and splintered into mutually hostile city-states, SPQR was hurled by Florentines at Romans as an epithet, seno porci questi romani (they are all pigs, these romans), and there’s the connection to the topic.

  8. Footloose, even in those days, they knew how to turn a phrase around – but, but, still pork reigns !!

  9. @MM
    It’s one of the miracles of the internet and of the “search box”. Entire articles can now be easily retrieved from fragments of something that you may have skimmed through or read in passing, years before. As long as somebody put/post it up in the net, it can be found. :D

    You can blame the BBC and this episode of The Supersizers Eat…



  10. @Monty, I was just thinking of the exact same thing! I was wondering if a Berkshire/Kurobota pig would be good for lechon.

    Kudos MM for sticking with locally sourced pigs. Not only are you supporting industries within our country but it’s also better for the environment since there’s less carbon footprint.

    On a side note, I have an aversion to chicken skin that is pale in color. That’s why I like my chicken roasted or fried but if it’s only boiled or steamed I never eat the skin.

  11. I’ve always been of the opinion that pork Philippine-raised pigs tasted much better than your typical American pork. Even pork from Berkshire pigs doesn’t taste quite as good. And I’m not sure that it’s solely a function of the meat-to-fat ratio, because even super fatty cuts of American pork are bland compared to Philippine pork.

  12. good to know that local pig is still good, but still, lechon cooked by the best crew in town headed by Sir MM, is still yumyum:)

  13. Remembering the chicken-stuffed lechon from the eyeball :) Twas no hardship to eat white meat then. Adding chorizo to the mix… oh wow!

  14. @friedneurons I think you have to qualify that statement by saying Philippine native pigs, not all local raised pork. The commercial pink pigs mostly taste the same, whether it’s imported or grown locally.

    Even with the native black pigs there can be a large variance when it comes to taste. We have cooked native cochinillos where the skin was perfect, but other times it came out crunchy but tough. But in all cases, the meat of the native cochinillos came out very well, unlike the case when we’ve tried cooking commercial hybrid piglets. The skin wasn’t too crispy and the meat was bland and dry.

  15. Would it not be mostly a function of what they are fed on? I mean, that’s the very reason why jamon de bellota is so priced. I had this recurring discussion with my dear mother about what she remembered local porks tasted like in her youth. She claimed it had an intense porkiness because they were fed with swill made out of rice bran and molasses and I always added, and they were “free-range” which is gumagala in Tagalog which implies all sorts of hair-raising scenarios.

  16. I’ve talked to some Spanish ham purveyors and apparently they have a distinction between grain and acorn fed Iberian pigs, with those fattened with acorn commanding a much higher price. Same animal, different feed, different results.

    The only native or semi-native (crossbred) pigs I’ve eaten several times are cochinillos, which are mostly milk fed. They’re always pretty great in my book.

  17. For those in NA or Europe, has anyone tried using Mangalitsa/Mangalica for Lechon? It’s supposed to be very fatty and flavorful. Although I don’t know if the thick coat will affect the texture of the cooked skin.

  18. Is there a reason why you cooked the chorizos first before stuffing them inside the pig’s belly? The chickens were raw when you stuffed them in.

  19. @monty Yes, you’re absolutely right. I was actually thinking of the native pigs raised in Batangas. My dad used to make “inihaw na pork chop” with thick cuts of meat and only salt and pepper and it was insanely delicious. My mom’s cousin used to have a pig slaughtered every now and then for lechon, and then he would make dinuguan from the innards. YUM.

  20. Pretty much all major museums in China displays excavated funerary figures that almost always include models of home-like shelters with pig pens invariably annexed showing actual figurine(s) of pig in them. The ones found in tombs of notable personages are made of glazed ceramics and appear to be drawn to scale but the most commonly dug up ones are made of terracotta and are more primitive and rough, more bozzetti than maquettes. Some are open air, a few are partially roofed and quite a few even have suspicious looking booths built over them. This imagery of pig tied to domesticity preserved as funerary object, of course, persists specially in their written language. The hanzi for home or family is a roof over the radical for boar, ? (ji?). So for a fifth of mankind, one can say, home is where the pig is.

  21. As a Filipino-American who has traveled to the Philippines multiple times, I have eaten pork raised there and found its taste far superior to what we have in the States. In our attempts to raise leaner pigs, we have lost a lot of pork’s special flavor. Many times, what I buy here is pretty tasteless. I suspect this is why the whole heritage breeds, free-range, farm-to-table trend is so big in the States: We are trying to bring back the “true” flavor of pork. Unfortunately, given that the cost of purchasing this niche pork is so high – versus what we regularly buy at our local market – only a lucky few will ever be able to know what pre-industrial pork tastes like.

  22. Mealhada’s leitão is a (Portuguese word for a suckling pig) piglet in the first weeks of life still feeding on its mother’s milk. It was heavenly good… the skin, thin, crunchy and almost devoid of fat; the meat, aromatic, very tender and juicy. I had this last Nov. ’15 and every time I think about it I start salivating. I just added it to my other last meal, that is, Da Dong’s (Beijing) peking duck. Skin, so thin, crunchy and almost devoid of fat and meat, tender and juicy. These are the only two times that we went to a restaurant twice during our trips.

  23. I never get enough of Chinese roasted piglets served as artfully arranged rectangles of practically just crunchy skin. Youtube has clips showing how they are spatchcocked and stretched out on a kitelike framework and actually roasted and hovered over glowing coal till they turn deep amber. Any younger than those such as how they are weaned from their mothers in France and Portugal and served whole appear pitiful to me and make me cringe and lose appetite.

  24. Seems no new post from MM. It’s unusual … Hope he’s ok and only busy with new venture or traveling.

  25. Almost a similar attempt to ‘Turducken’ which is compose of turkey, duck and chicken. The ‘Lechichor’ doesn’t look appetizing but I’m sure its delicious. Filipinos just love lechon.

  26. @Natie. You must be snowbound just like me. Is it withdrawal symptoms you are experiencing or, even worse, the initial phases of Kübler-Ross stages of grief?

  27. Hi, Footloose! I have been in the Philippines since December to escape the cold. I am now on the acceptance period. MM is way too busy these days..

  28. Hi Footloose, Natie et al. I am alive and well. Just totally swamped. And despite being swamped, I am amused/appalled by the brewing Presidential/Vice-Presidential race here in the Philippines. Reading the candidates platforms and looking for content has me wondering what future we have as a nation… So I was tongue-in-cheek thinking of writing about 20 things I would be worried about if I were President but it just seems like such a huge investment in time and effort… but maybe… :)

    Meanwhile, we just hosted lunch for Eve Ensler and folks from the One Billion Rising Movement in Cebu and while of course she was just being polite… she enthusiastically declared “I have been to over 70 countries in the world and have had some spectacular meals, but this lunch was definitely one of the Top 5 I have ever eaten… and you can quote me on that!” Heehee. :)

  29. Hi Joel – so glad to hear from you! Just to let you know I was worried too but so relieved to know you are just your busy usual self. All the very best and take care!

  30. Mientras tanto, Footloose, please send otras diversiones, while MM is ‘swamped’….more jamon….

  31. Still checking.. MM, I bet she was telling the truth about the best lunch!
    Hello, Market Manila friends!



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