Lechón entero al Horno
Oven roasted pig

It's the traditional holiday meat.

It sounds more difficult than it really is. The hardest part, slaughtering and cleaning is already done. Think of it as roasting a very large pernil.

1 - 50 lb suckling pig , cleaned, washed, dried

Puerto Rican pork roast seasoning (for this size pig) - 1½ cups crushed garlic (jar store bought is ok), ½ cup salt, ½ cup black coarse pepper, ½ cup oregano, 1 cup olive oil, and 5 pkts Sazon Goya
for color.


Some grocery stores that cater to the Latino market carry whole pigs in their freezer section. If not contact a meat market and order one. Have them clean, remove insides, and scrape off hair. Once you get home rise the pig several times, at first using water with vinegar, then plain water. Pat dry the pig.

Mix all seasoning ingredients together by stiring, don't put in blender, you want to "taste" the different flavors.

With a very sharp knife make many slits both from the inside out and from the outside in. Season with marinade making sure to push seasoning into the slits. Place seasoned pig in a new trash bag and refrigerate at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.

Let the pig get back into room temperature before cooking. (About one hour). Save the marinade that dripped off the pig to baste pig.

Fold hind legs under belly; tie. Place pig, head up and on its belly, in large roasting pan that is at least 2" deep - there will be a lot of fat rendered. Tent ears and tail with foil.

Roast in preheated 350F oven, turning and basting with remaining marinade and any pan juices every hour, until meat thermometer in thickest portion registers 160F in leg and 170F in shoulder. Be careful when turning the pig that it does not break appart. If you are concerned then don't turn the pig when it is almost done.

Cooking will take about 5 hours for this size pig. During last 15 minutes, raise heat to 500F. For crispy "cueritos" don't cover the pig, only the ears and tail to prevent burning.

Carving . . . how to.

To serve, transfer pig to cutting board. Let the pig rest for 20 minutes before you begin to carve it. This has to do with letting the juices sink into the meat for moist meat. You are going to cut the pig into large sections first and then slice the sections into portions.

Steady the pig with a large fork and detach the hind legs, slicing from the front of the haunch toward the tail.

Cut off the front legs by cutting into the shoulder where it joins the leg. Slice behind the shoulder blade to about 1 inch behind the ear. Then cut straight down to sever the leg.

Place the pig (minus the legs) on its stomach. Make an incision the length of the spine, pressing the knife down to the bone. Press the back of the carving fork agains the loin and slice down, keeping the knife blade against the ribs to detach the loin in one piece.

Carve each loin crosswise into pieces about 3 inches wide.

Cut throught the knee joint to divide the leg into two, then carve the thigh into thin slices, holding the knife parallel to the bone.

Carve the other side of the pig in the same fashion.

Good luck! Send me pictures.