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Recipe for Puerto Rican Lechon, Roast Suckling Pig


Recipe for Puerto Rican Lechon, Roast Suckling Pig
Photo © Zain Deane
Lechón: it's as Puerto Rican as apple pie is American. On Sundays, outdoor gatherings and family get togethers, lechón is practically a member of the family ... a highly edible and succulent one. In one brief trip to Puerto Rico I saw no less than four different lechóns roasting away at parties I attended. It was high time I included a recipe on the site, and who better to supply one than the folks at Saborea!

Cook Time: 7 hours

Total Time: 7 hours

Yield: 12-15 servings


  • 1 25-pound suckling pig, ready to cook
  • 24 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons whole dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns (whole black peppers)
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup sour orange juice (naranja agria)
  • 3-4 green plantains


Crush and mix the garlic, oregano, peppercorns and salt in a mortar. Mix this thoroughly with the sour orange juice. Then, cut deep gashes into the pig at its neck, under the lower jaw, its loin, legs, shoulders and over the ribs. Rub the seasoning into the gashes as well as inside and over the pig. Cover with a cheese cloth and let sit overnight in a cool place. Barbecue the pig in the traditional method on a spit. Tie the front legs to the pole, stretching them out as far as possible, and place the pole on a pair of Y-posts. Place the pig over an open fire of live charcoal over layers of stone. Rotate the spit slowly and continuously to roast evenly, and baste frequently with achiote (annatto seed) coloring. Cook for roughly 7 hours, or until the meat is well done and loses its pink color. Place the green plantains over the stones as well, to be eaten with the lechón. Cut the meat and served with the plantains. For an extra 'Rican kick, throw in some ajili-mojili, a sour garlic sauce.
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