BBQ126/17 – Pannage Pork, Lechon Liempo (Filipino-Style Roasted Pork Belly)
Pannage Pork – Lechon Liempo: A few years ago I saw this article on Pannage Pork. A practice dating back to medieval times, Pannage kicks off in the new forest during September and usually lasts for 60 days. When the acorns fall they are dangerous to horses and cows as they can get poisoned so the ancient right of “Common of Mast” allows farmers to release their pigs into the new forest to feast on the acorns, clearing them from the ground to avoid the horses and cows poisoning themselves. The current cost per pig is just £4 per month but the number of pigs released each year is only around 600 and demand for the meat is outstripping supply. Iberico Pork is world famous and the animals are fed on acorns in a similar fashion, pannage pork is the UK equivalent of Iberico Pork. Pannage Pork is said to have a slightly nutty taste, slightly drier and darker meat with a stronger pork taste.
I don’t think I have cooked a pork belly on the grill yet, only on the smoker. I enjoyed the rotisserie pork leg the previous week so fancied using the rotisserie again.
As the pork is quite special I didn’t want to mask the taste with a strong rub or sauce. I found a recipe for Lechon Liempo (Filipino-Style Roasted Pork Belly) which simply uses garlic, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Sounded ideal!
I first tried to get hold of some a couple of years back. The Butchery in London were selling it but they don’t do mail order. Last year I found a couple of suppliers but the stock had been ordered in advance and nothing was left. I put an order in at that point for the following year (2017) and put a reminder in my diary to follow up in November. I emailed Fred at Stansted Farm Shop who advised I was #1 on the list. Happy days!
Part of the order from Stansted Farm Shop was a large pork belly. I split it in 2 and used half for this cook, they other half is curing for bacon. This section had some bones in which I removed and I left the skin on to get some crackling.
You can see in the photo above I had slashed the meat diagonally in each direction. I made the garlic paste by mixing rapeseed oil, minced garlic, salt, vinegar and black pepper in a bowl. I then rubbed this into the meat.
Now the tricky bit. I am still not very good with butchers knots. Scott Rea has a great video which I watch about 10 times before I have to tie any knots! The first few weren’t great but they did get better as I went on.
I wrapped the meat in cling film and left it in the fridge overnight.
On the day of the cook I fired up a full chimney of Oxford Charcoal Apple and when it was fully lit I poured it into the charcoal baskets set to each side of the grill. I slotted the rotisserie bar through the centre of the meat and attached the prongs. The meat wasn’t wide enough to stick the prongs in so I used them to hold it in place on the bar instead.
I placed a lump of oak and a lump of apple from Smokewood Shack on the far edge of the charcoal then put the lid on. Looking at previous cooks I thought this would take about 1.5 to 2 hours to cook in total. After 90 minutes the meat had a great colour, the crackling was looking awesome and the smell of the meat was amazing!
The internal temperature of the meat was around 70c so I took the meat off to rest.
Time to Eat:
The meat rested for around 20 minutes and then I sliced it open. The crackling was so good, really crisp and made a great sound as I cut the meat.
The meat was very juicy, smelt amazing and I managed to sneak a few tastes which were fantastic!
I replicated the black pudding and apple combo from the rotisserie pork leg cook.
Oh my, what a meal! The pannage pork was outstanding, really nice porky flavour – slightly stronger than standard pork. The fat layer was really soft, just melted like butter. The crackling was my best yet which is quite amusing as I forgot to dry it and salt it before I put it on the rotisserie!
Really enjoyed the meal, glad to finally get hold of some pannage pork and I am looking forward to cooking the rest of the meat I ordered.
|Cook Equipment:||Weber Kettle|
|Charcoal:||Oxford Charcoal Apple|
|Smoking Wood:||Smokewood Shack Oak and Apple|
|Cook time:||90m and 20m rest|
|Notes:||Probably cook it to 65c or lower instead of 70/75c.|