Sunday, April 19, 2009

How to Avoid your Lechon Skin from Getting Leathery

Part of the fun in eating lechon Cebu is its crisp skin. However, no matter how hard you try to prevent its skin from softening, certain reasons make this happen. You may hire the best lechonero but if you choose the wrong pig and commit the following mistakes written below, be ready to eat lechon skin with texture that will really frustrate you.

1. Wrong choice of pig. If you are planning to order small sized lechon, it is really advisable to get native pigs as their skin is thicker which allows to stand longer shelf life once grilled. Remember that the smaller the pig, the greater chances that the skin isn't perfect. It is easy to spot a good pig suited for grilling. Just check the pig's butt area if it's round, and the spinal bone should not be visible. The pig's body hair should also be thick and longer--this is how you will know if the pig's skin is thick or not.

2. Constant brushing of the lechon body while grilling. Cebu lechon normally has several herbs and spices added to the pig's belly to achieve that elusive Cebu lechon taste. However, while grilling, these ingredients will naturally spill over the pig's body. It is a must that the one in charge of grilling should brush the said drippings from time to time using his own kind of brush (most lechonero uses only a typical floor mop which is used solely for lechon). The saltier the solution or ingredients, the higher the chances of a soggy skin once brushing is not done.

3. Undercooked lechon. A lechon de leche with a live weight of 10-12 kilos is normally grilled for 1hr and 15mins, while small sized lechon with 16-18 kilos live weight is done for 1.5 hours on the average. Grilling lechon below the minimum humber of hours may also result to a leathery lechon skin.

4. Trapped steam. During peak season, most lechon companies get humongous orders and to keep up, they tend to pack the newly grilled lechon right away even if it is still steaming hot. All precautions stated above are useless if you commit this horrible mistake. It is advisable that once the bamboo is removed from the lechon's body, allow the steam to cool down for 10-15mins before you ask the sales person to wrap it. If you don't have the luxury of time, just make sure that even if you pack the lechon right away, the lechon's butt area is open and free from any packaging wrapper, as steam normally comes out from that side. And make sure that the car's back compartment is semi open if you decide to put your lechon there.

5. Aircon vent. Once the lechon is already in your house, make sure that the aircon vent or even electric fan is not in direct position to your lechon. Aircon's cool tempreture makes any lechon oily and its skin soggy. More so if you place the vents directly to your lechon.

Basically, all reasons above constitute the factors why people still get soft lechon skin despite the necessary precautions. However, if you experience this, you can do 3 things: eat it still, cut and fry the skin under low fire, or convert it into lechon paksiw. Which ever, you are guaranteed of a tasty lechon meat that is good enough even without the skin--that is if your lechon is MANONG'S LECHON CEBU.

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