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This Noche Buena Ditch The Turkey For A Lechon Asado

My family’s Christmas dinners were often different than the dry, tasteless turkeys eaten at our neighbor’s houses. My uncles would dress a whole pig and marinate it overnight in mojo de ajo. Then they would slowly roast the whole pig in a homemade wood and metal box for about 8-10 hours. All day we would run around while the men played dominoes and the women gossiped. Finally, at around 7, the pig would be done. It would take two people to pull it out of the box and take it to the carving table. Like some kind of Pagan sacrifice, we would all stand there in awe, waiting for the moment when we all tore into it. If you’ve never had slow roasted lechon or pernil, (they are the same thing), you haven’t lived. While the whole pig thing is a bit much for your average person, a nice pork leg is easy to do and gives you similar results.

Piernita De Lechon

1 15 Lb whole pork leg. You can get it de-boned if you prefer, but bone-in will give you better flavor

12 Garlic cloves


1/2 Cup of Adobo, which you can get in the “Ethnic Foods” section of your supermarket

1 Bottle of mojo, also in “Ethnic Foods”

2 Cups of OJ, the juice not the murderer

5 Limes, juiced

1 Tbs of sea salt

Mince and smash the garlic, salt, and oregano together until it makes a delicious paste. Add it to a large bowl with the Adobo, OJ, lime juice, and mojo, and mix it up. Next, take a sharp knife and make cuts into the pork in a crosshatch pattern. Cut deep enough to get to the meat, but not too deep. Put the leg in a baking dish and pour the mixture over it slowly, making sure to get all up in those holes, yo. Cover the leg and let it marinate in the fridge overnight. Flip the meat around a couple of times so the mixture can work its way in both sides equally. Be patient. Next, preheat your oven to 450 and roast the leg for 30-45 minutes. Lower it to 350 and continue roasting for 5 1/2 hours, basting it every 30 minutes or so. Go play dominoes, cards, smoke cigars, drink, gossip, run around, play basketball, and generally create great memories with the people you love. The pork is done when it is falling off the bone. Let it rest for at least 20 minutes. Be patient. Now, eat.

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