Torta de Lechón

April 29, 2022
4 Ratings
Photo by Ren Fuller
  • Prep time 4 hours
  • Cook time 9 hours 15 minutes
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

Garlic and lime slow-roasted pork sandwiches with salsa and pickled jalapeños

There is a man named Rudy in Aguascalientes who is famous for his lechón—this incredibly succulent, marinated, slow roasted pig. He serves it by the pound, or in tacos, or in a torta. I asked which he thought I should try and he said torta. This thing was almost obscene, completely loaded with tender and juicy pork and almost drowning in a salsa verde. —Rick Martinez

Test Kitchen Notes

Recipe reprinted with permission from Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in Mexico (‎Clarkson Potter, May 2022).

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. As an Amazon Associate, Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to. —The Editors

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Torta de Lechón
  • 2 garlic heads, cloves separated and peeled
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1½ teaspoons (96 grams) Morton kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (40 grams) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for roasting
  • 1 to 4 crushed chiles de árbol or red chile flakes (depending on how hot you like it)
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 8- to 10-pound (3.6 to 4.5 kilograms) skin-on, bone-in pork shoulder
  • 12 ounces (354 milliliters) lager, preferably Mexican
  • 8 bolillos or hoagies, split and toasted
  1. In a blender, puree the garlic, lime juice, vinegar, salt, parsley, oregano, thyme, oil, chiles de árbol, and peppercorns until smooth.
  2. Push a small paring knife (about 3½ inches long) into the pork through the skin, working the blade all the way in and twisting the knife to make a small hole in the meat. Repeat, making holes spaced about 1½ inches apart on all sides of the pork.
  3. Set the pork on a sheet pan and rub it all over with the lime/herb mixture, pushing it into the holes and covering any exposed meat and skin. Try to get as much of the mixture into the meat as possible, and not just on the surface, where it may burn while roasting. Be sure to use all of it! Wrap the pork tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap, wipe the sheet plan clean, set the pork back on the sheet pan, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 3 days.
  4. Arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat to 275°F.
  5. Line a large roasting pan with two layers of heavy-duty foil. Place a large roasting rack on top. Set the pork, skin-side up, on the rack. Scrape any lime/herb mixture off the skin and thoroughly pat the pork dry with paper towels. Liberally brush the cleaned skin with some oil.
  6. Transfer the pan to the oven and carefully pour the beer and 3 cups water into the pan. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the shoulder registers 195°F, the meat pulls away from the bone and easily shreds, and the skin is crisp, for 8 to 9 hours.
  7. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and let the pork sit, uncovered, at room temperature for at least 1 hour and up to 5 hours to cool.
  8. Just before serving, heat oven to 500°F.
  9. Set the pork in the oven and reheat until the skin gets very crispy, like a chicharrón (but don't let it take on any more color), for 5 to 10 minutes.
  10. Remove the chicharrón (crispy skin) and cut or break it into smaller pieces (chicharrones). Slice or pull the lechón and transfer to a platter.
  11. Build your sandwiches on the bolillos with the lechón, chicharrones, lots of salsa de aguacate, chiles jalapeños en escabeche, curdito, and extra brine from the jalapeños splashed on top.

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  • Smaug
  • lucky_singer_girl
  • Bjellis01
Rick Martinez

Recipe by: Rick Martinez

Rick Martinez is currently living his dream—cooking, eating and enjoying the Mexican Pacific coast in Mazatlán. He is finishing his first cookbook, Under the Papaya Tree, food from the seven regions of Mexico and loved traveling the country so much, he decided to buy a house on the beach. He is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit, New York Times and hosts live, weekly cooking classes for Food Network Kitchens. Earlier this year, he was nominated for a James Beard Award for “How to win the Cookie Swap” in Bon Appétit’s holiday issue.

3 Reviews

lucky_singer_girl October 27, 2022
Freaking stunning. The most delicious pork shoulder. I’ve made this multiple times and am going to make it again for thanksgiving.
Bjellis01 June 1, 2022
I like the idea very much but WAY too salty. Remade with half the salt and it was much better. The accompaniments are really good. Don't skimp on them.
Smaug May 10, 2022
Ten pounds of pork to make eight sandwiches? I'd say you're all the way to obscene.