Roasted Pork Belly (Lechon Liempo)

This is Roasted Pork Belly (Lechon Liempo). Lechon is traditionally a whole suckling pig roasted for hours over hot coals. Lechon is a must-have in every occasion in the Philippines and since Filipinos who live abroad are unable to roast a whole suckling pig, we realized there is another way to enjoy lechon. And that is what this recipe is for. We used the Pork Belly which is more convenient and easy to find at any stores abroad. As for the spices, just make use of what you have available. Some of these hard to find spices and banana leaves can also be bought online. Enjoy this recipe from all of us at Filipino Chow.


  • 2 pounds of pork belly
  • 5-6 stalks of lemon grass, crushed
  • 1 small bundle chives, chopped
  • 3 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • garlic powder
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper powder
  • ground chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup of cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
  • 6-8 pieces of bakers twine (each 36 inches long)


  1. Start by rinsing the pork belly with lukewarm water.
  2. Next pat both sides of the pork belly with a paper towels or a clean cloth to remove all the water.
  3. Using a paring knife or a fork, poke the skin of the meat to ensure a nice crackling.
  4. Lay the pork belly on a flat surface with the skin facing down.
  5. Rub the top side of the pork belly with the garlic powder, ground chili flakes, salt and pepper.
  6. Set the pork belly in the refrigerator for 1 hour to cure while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  7. Combine the soy sauce and cooking oil in a small mixing bowl then whisk until it is well blended to make the basting sauce.
  8. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  9. Lift one side of the pork belly then position 3-4 pieces of bakers twine along the length of the pork with each piece being the same distance apart then lay that side of the pork back down on top of the twine.
  10. Do the same with the other side of the pork belly and the remaining twine.
  11. Now place the lemongrass stalks in the middle of the pork belly with half of the stalks pointing in one direction and the other half pointing in the other direction. This is so the oils from the lemongrass stalks will be evenly distributed along the whole length of the pork belly.
  12. Now place the chopped garlic, onions, ginger, and chives along the middle of the pork belly, next to the lemongrass stalks.
  13. Start at one end of the pork belly by carefully folding both sides of the meat around the lemongrass stalks and spices.
  14. While holding the meat together, have someone assist you by tightly tying the twine in a knot around the pork belly, creating a roll with the lemongrass and spices on the inside.
  15. Repeat the process down the length of the pork belly until all the twine has been tied. At this point the pork belly should look kind of like a sushi roll.
  16. Gently trim any pieces of the lemongrass that stick out from the meat.
  17. Place the pork belly in a roasting pan with the with the folded edge facing down.
  18. Brush the pork belly skin with the basting mixture then cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil.
  19. Place the roasting pan in the oven and let the pork belly roast for up to 5 hours, but no less than three and a half hours.
  20. Briefly remove the pork belly from the oven every 20 minutes to brush the outer skin of the pork belly with the basting sauce, then return it to the oven.
  21. After the pork belly has roasted for at least three and a half hours, remove it from the oven and discard the aluminum foil cover.
  22. Set the oven to broil and increase the oven temperature to 450°F.
  23. Baste the pork belly one last time before putting it back in the oven.
  24. Put the pork belly back into the oven and let it continue to roast until the skin becomes reddish in color and the skin should be crisp to the touch.
  25. Check the pork belly frequently. If the skin closest to the heating element begins to bubble up, turn the pork belly over to another side.
  26. Once all the skin is crisp, remove the pork belly from the oven.
  27. Let the pork belly rest for 10 to 15 minutes before trying to handle it.
  28. Cut the roasted pork belly into the serving pieces you want and serve with your choice of dipping sauce.

Be sure to rinse and scrub the spices and vegetables with lukewarm water before you cut them. When preparing the lemongrass, remove any of the brown stem or leaves from the stalks then cut off the root base. Crush the lemongrass stalks by pounding them with a food mallet along the entire length of the stalks. If you have a rack for your roasting pan, you should use it when you bake the pork belly. But it's not necessary. Be sure to use bakers twine and not butchers twine when you cook this dish. Butchers twine tends to burn easily, so it won't work for this dish since it has to cook for so long.


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