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Lechón: How Latin America Pigs Out
Smoky to the taste and startling to the eyes, lechón is celebrated across Latin America. Learn why with Groupon’s introduction.
A mainstay at family gatherings across Latin America and Spain, lechón, or roast suckling pig, is reason for celebration on its own. Traditionally, whole pigs—usually weighing between 90 and 120 pounds, though adult pigs are frequently substituted—are skewered on a spit, where they turn slowly over an open fire for up to eight hours as attentive cooks baste their skin. In urban areas in the US—where restaurants likely don’t have the capacity to keep whole pigs turning all day—a dish billed as lechón may simply be a preparation of pork that has been normally fried or roasted to achieve the same juicy flavor and tender yet crispy contrast in texture.
Smoky, crispy lechón is a national dish of both the Philippines and Puerto Rico. In fact, the dish is so popular in Guavate, Puerto Rico, that Route 184 is known as “La Ruta del Lechón” for the sheer number of roadside cafeterias serving it. The owners of these eateries, which are known as lechoneras, display their wares proudly in the window, giving passersby a chance to ogle the goods before deciding on a pig of their own.