‘Tis the Season for… Roast Pork – Lechón Asado with the Million Dollar Chef, Walter Martino
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‘Tis the Season for… ROAST PORK – LECHÓN ASADO
How to throw a killer Cuban Pig Roast- The origins of the Caja China—basically, “Chinese box” in Spanish—and particularly how it made its way to Cuba from Asia, the basic method inverts traditional cooking structures by placing the coals on top of the box. This allows the pig to slow-roast in indirect heat.
PAIRING: Cubanisimo 2015 Pinot Gris
ROASTING A PIG
The pig, 60 to 70 pounds (feeds 75)
1 quart of freshly squeezed sour orange juice
1 1/2 cup of fresh pureed garlic
1/2 cup of oregano
1/4 cup of ground cumin
1 to 1 1/2 cups of salt
The Mojo Sauce
2 cups of sour orange juice
1 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup of garlic
Half bunch of scallion greens
Salt to taste
How to Make It
When you first get the pig, use a hammer and knife to separate the collar bone from the backbone. You want it to be spread eagle.
Put all the ingredients in a blender until pureed; it should be able to fit in the syringe that comes with your Caja China.
Inject the non-skin side of the pig with marinade—every square inch or two. NOTE: You don’t want to pierce the skin or put too much moisture in, or it’s not gonna crisp up. Let the pig rest in a large refrigerator or bagged in a bathtub filled with ice. Let it sit for 24 hours.
Roasting the Pig
Wake up early. When starting the Caja China-the temperature inside should be low—between 275 to 325 degrees. Set the pig inside, skin-side down.
Once you start roasting, you’ll need to change the coals about once an hour. The trick is to be aggressive about temperature control.
About six hours in (whenever you start to see the bones separating from the meat), flip the pig so the skin is facing the coals. Brush the skin olive oil and sprinkle with a few fistfuls of salt. Finish for an extra hour-and-a-half to two hours.
Remove from the Caja China.
The Mojo Sauce
Blend together. Slather on your dishes: yuca fries, pork.
Suggested Pairing: Cubanisimo 2015 Pinot Gris
Choose an aromatic, savory Pinot Noir. As the roast pork is quite sweet and delicate, avoid heavy reds like warm-climate Shiraz or Cabernet which may tend to taste out of balance with the meat.
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