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16 Hours

March 2, 2018

Two nights in a row I was up until 2am working on the same cooking project. In my heart of hearts I knew it was a bad idea from the get go. But I’m on the Adventure in Food Trading mailing list, and a while back I saw they were running a special on a berkshire pork leg.

For the past several months I’ve wanted to try my hand at making Raf’s Cuban lechon. So when there was an opportunity to get a whole pork leg, I jumped on the opportunity.

Even though it was over twenty pounds. And frozen.

Today’s post is delayed thanks to two nights of too little sleep. But I think it was worth it because this morning I woke up to bites of piping hot overnight lechon. Breakfast pork was never part of the plan, rather it was just a happy accident.

One of the big challenges of working with a giant hunk of meat was that I had no idea how long it would take to cook. Raf’s recipe is a very very slow roast. It calls for the oven to be set between 225 and 250 degrees. I’m not actually sure why there’s a range. Perhaps, the higher temp is for a speedier roast and the lower temp is for a more succulent one?

Regardless, I went with 250 and put it in the preheated oven at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. My worst case scenario was that it would take eleven hours to cook, and I would be done by 2am. Yes, that’s late, but it’s not a big deal. I was up until 2am the night before preparing the marinade.

Except my worst case scenario missed the mark, and by 2am the pork was still not fully cooked.

Leaving a roast in the oven overnight makes me deeply uneasy. But I lowered the heat down to 225, bit the bullet, and went to bed. By the time I woke up at 7am it was perfect! The answer for how long it would take to cook: sixteen hours.

I cut a small piece from the shank, and popped it in my mouth. Actually, I kept on cutting different bites from different parts of the leg. And when Little Miss Fussy wandered into the kitchen, I did the same thing for her.

Then, after letting it cool, I portioned off several one pound packages of meat. The bones have been separated, and will be pressure cooked into pork stock. The olive oil has been strained and will be used to roast vegetables and finish beans.

And now we’ve got more Cuban style pork than we do reserved portions of black beans. So I may have to get another few batches of beans in before the unlocking is through. It’s so much easier to do big projects like this when the garage can be used as a backup refrigerator.

Really, I could use a nap. But maybe I’ll just make a little pot of cuban coffee. My goal is to still shovel out and run out to the store for a roast chicken. Sure, we could have the pork tonight for dinner. However, it’s Friday. And Fridays are when we have roast chicken.

It’s madness, I know.

I’ll get some sleep on Saturday morning, so that I’m well rested for the New York Craft Brewers Festival. Maybe I’ll see you there. While the VIP tickets are sold out, I hear there are still some General Admission ones remaining. Don’t wait to buy them at the door, as you may find yourself out of luck.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. albanylandlord permalink
    March 6, 2018 3:12 am

    You are my hero. And Raf for his recipe. And his Abuela. That lechon and those amazing black beans? With Berkshire pork? My eyes are rolling back in my head. I need to make the lechon and black beans together. now.


  1. 7 and 7 on Saturday, March 3, 2018 – Chuck The Writer

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