Bellychon for me is the Pinoy version of the Porcetta, it is also the modern version of the traditional lechon where instead of a whole pig is roasted only its belly is used on this dish, with this method its now easy to make your own lechon at home all you need is an oven and patience. Like lechon it is prepared with similar herbs and spices, it can also be cook in charcoal spit.
So what sets this apart from the usual roast pork or even the Porcetta? The spices and the skin. Spices used in this is not just a simple salt and pepper, in making one you will need a lot of lemongrass, spring onions, red onions and fish sauce, which gives this dish a different aroma and tons of flavour. Skin as well is quite different, while most roasted pork emphasizes on cracklings on this dish there is no crackling but that does not mean the skin will not be crunchy, it is still a crunchy but instead of a rough surface it is smooth and thin, thanks to a thin layer of milk and slow roasting that makes it possible.
- 2 kg thin rectangular slab pork belly skin on
- 3 stalks lemongrass, pounded
- 3 stalks spring onions
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small red onion, sliced
- fish sauce
- ¼ cup fresh milk
- freshly ground black pepper
- sea salt
- Lay down the pork skin side down on a work surface then prick the meat side all over the surface with fork. In the middle, spread the minced garlic and season with fish sauce and freshly ground black pepper.
- Arrange the lemongrass, scallions and onion slices in the middle then roll the pork then tie it tightly with butcher’s twine in 1-inch intervals. Season outside generously with salt then refrigerate overnight without cover allowing the skin to dehydrate.
- Remove pork from the refrigerator 2 hours before roasting.
- Remove extra moisture from skin by gently wiping skin with paper towel. Remove also any excess salt in the surface.
- Place in a rotisserie oven then roast in a 160C preheated oven for 2½ hours.
- Remove pork from the oven, brush skin with milk, place it back into the rotisserie then increase the temperature to 180C. Continue to roast for 20-30 minutes or until the skin turns crispy and golden brown.
- Remove from oven, let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Remove the strings once it cools down then slice and serve.