Record-breaking numbers of tourists are visiting Puerto Rico. Around 1.7 million cruise ship passengers will visit the island this year alone. Beyond the beautiful beaches, part of the appeal includes local Puerto Rican food dishes. One dish you definitely want to try? Lechón Asado!
What is Lechón Asado?
Lechon Asado is considered the most popular Puerto Rican holiday food! It essentially is a suckling pig roasted over charcoal. It is a traditional Puerto Rican dish that takes many hours to cook. You may find it served with Mofongo, another top island dish.
Interested in learning more about this pork specialty? Keep reading for five things you should definitely know about this Lechon pork dish.
1. There is a Lechón Asado Capital You Can Visit
While this dish isn’t exclusive to Puerto Rico, the people there really love it. If you are up for exploring, you can visit the hilly town of Guavate. In this town, there is a “Lechón Route.”
What’s on the route you ask? Dozens of little shops and trucks selling the dish! It’s a very popular tourist spot, but locals frequent the area as well.
2. The Pigs Get a Buzz Before Roasting
You might not think about it, but pigs have body hair just like humans! Before roasting, all of the pig’s hair is carefully shaved. A butcher will do this, but whoever is prepping the pig will also inspect it for any missed hairs.
Spices and seasonings will penetrate the meat better if all hair is removed.
3. Lechon Asado Preparation Takes Time
If you are ever visiting a family who is serving this pork dish, it’s important to understand and appreciate the prep work that went into it.
After the pig is killed and shaved, it’s belly is slit lengthwise. Ears, feet, and tail remain. The pig is cleaned and seasoned, inside and out. Common choices include garlic, oregano, achiote oil and of course, salt and pepper.
4. Roast Time is a Days Work
Traditionally, the pig is roasted for around eight hours. A metal rod will skewer the pig and rotate evenly over a big charcoal pit. This is what gives the dish a signature smoky flavor.
It also leaves the skin extra crispy!
As the dish is commonly found at large gatherings and celebration, make the most of the time. Consider mixing up one of many Spanish drinks to enjoy while you wait for your meal.
5. Different Pig Sizes
While the dish traditionally uses a suckling (baby pig who has only fed on its mother’s milk), larger pigs are sometimes used.
This is due to the popularity of the dish and can depend on the size of the gathering. A bigger party requires a bigger pig.
Give Your Taste Buds a Riveting Puerto Rican Experience
It should be clear that trying Lechon Asado should be at the top of your list when visiting Puerto Rico. And don’t forget the many incredible desserts Puerto Rico has to offer. Experiencing culture through popular dishes is one of the best ways to explore a new place.
If you are looking for even more cuisine information, be sure to check out our other posts about Latin American and Spanish dishes!
And if you are looking to shop for imported Puerto Rican foods & drinks visit our website for quick delivery and the best variety online.
Our blog is all about sharing our love of Latin American foods & drinks. We will bring you articles and recipes of the very best Latin American & Spanish cuisine. Amigofoods was founded in 2003 and is the largest online grocery store offering a wide variety of hard to find freshly imported foods & drinks from all over Latin America and Spain.