Lechon Vs. Pernil (In-Depth Comparison)

Last updated on October 26th, 2022 at 05:19 pm

Pork is a widely accepted meat that individuals preserve, and has different recipes for preparing it.

People mostly prepare it for special occasions and gatherings like Christmas, birthdays, weddings, etc.

Worldwide there are several pork dishes with different recipes and methods of preparation. These dishes might differ in recipe and health importance.

Some are cured, smoked, dried, fried, or roasted, from the Japanese tonkatsu to barbecue pork, like the Filipino Lechon and Puerto Rico’s Pernil.

Lechon is a Spanish word for roasted suckling pig, a popular Filipino pork dish, while Pernil is a Puerto Rican pork dish of roasted pork shoulder or leg. Both dishes are among the world’s top ten most prepared pork dishes, but people prefer one to the other because of the recipe, method of preparation, and health-related reasons.

Differences Between Lechon and Pernil

Lechon Vs. Pernil

Lechon is a Filipino pork dish prepared by slowly roasting a slaughtered suckling pig.

Pernil is a Puerto Rican pork dish of roasted pork shoulder or leg traditionally seasoned in a marinade (a spice consisting of paprika, salt, vinegar, garlic, and oregano). 

They differ in their preparation method, the recipe, the pork parts used, and the cost. But most especially, they differ healthwise.

Pernil is pork obtained by slowly roasting pork leg or shoulder until tender and crispy, while Lechon is pork made from killing a piglet that’s two to six weeks old and cooked or roasted whole.

While pernil is just a part of the whole pork cooked until it falls off the bone, Lechon is a whole piglet roasted slowly and served whole.

Lechon requires more heat (375°F) to cook, and pernil requires less heat(186°F).

Lechon is usually stuffed with lemongrass, batuan fruit, tamarind, garlic onions, bay leaf, and chives and roasted on a spit ( usually bamboo or a rod) over an open fire hour and served whole.

While the seasoning for pernil is marinade called Adobo mojado or Adobo Seco.

Adobo mojado is a combination of either dried or fresh Ingredients from adobo Seco plus olive oil or vinegar.

Adobo Seco consists of powdered onion, garlic salt, black powder, dried oregano, and dried citrus zest or paprika.

Pork shoulders and legs are more available and cost less compared to a whole piglet.

And since pork shoulder and leg is more flavorful than a whole pig, many people use the pernil in festivals and celebrations more than they would the Lechon. 

Recent studies have shown that too much fat increases the risk of serious health problems.

Lechon and pernil both differ in the quantity of fat. Lechon contains more fat compared to pernil due to the amount of collagen in the young pig.

Which Tastes Better, Lechon or Pernil?

Pernil tastes better than Lechon. And this is because of the method of preparation and the way they are spiced. 

The pork shoulder or leg allows spice entry, while Lechon is mostly just spicy on the crispy brown skin.

And because it is whole, it is sometimes hard to spice well and is normally eaten with sauce.

Many people prefer Pernil to Lechon, even if you cannot help but notice the roasted meat’s savory aroma and crispy skin ( Lechon), but Lechon has a unique way of making an impression.

The spiciest and most delicious part of the Lechon is the crispy skin that is normally eaten first before any other part of the Lechon.

That’s why it is for celebrations. But notwithstanding, taste does not determine the nutritional value of a meal. Tastes help give the appetite to eat meals. 

Therefore, what is the nutritional value of Pernil and Lechon? Check table below

Nutritional content Lechon Pernil 

Carbohydrate: net carb
Carbohydrate: Fiber 0g0.9g
Total carb0g12.9g
Calorie 242184

What to Serve with Lechon Vs. Pernil

You might be wondering what to Serve with your Lechon and Pernil. People generally dislike eating only pork; they usually want an extra flavor.

It will interest you that you can serve pernil and Lechon with side dishes, including vegetables, fruits, rice, and noodles. 

There are traditional dishes like tostones (fried plantains) and Arroz con granules (rice and pigeon peas).

Mash potatoes are a diet given to people with digestive and cardiovascular problems since they contain trace elements like potassium that help our organs

Mashed potatoes spiced with garlic are a great side dish for the pernil and Lechon. It will help balance nutrition and reduce the effect of pork fat on human health.

Fried plantains ( tostones) are a traditional Puerto Rican side dish for both pernil and Lechon, especially if you have a non-vegetarian at the table.

To make them more crispy and spicy, you need to add the necessary spices and fry them twice.

Macaroni and cheese (Mac and cheese) is another dish from England that is cheesy and Lumpy and provides you the opportunity to add vegetables and increase its nutritional value.

A meal of rice which is normally spicy and super flavorful can give a very impressive impression to your visitors.

The Yangzhou fried rice, Cuban rice, and black beans are just a few examples. Rice, peas, and beans are other perfect side dishes that the Asians mostly combine.

Is Lechon Asado The Same as Pernil?

Lechon Asado is not the same as pernil. Lechon is the Spanish for pork from roasting suckling pigs.

Lechon or Lechon Asado is roasted pork marinated in mojo ( a garlic and sour citrus sauce). 

Lechon Asado can be a whole pig or a piece of pork like ham or leg, while pernil is only either pork shoulder or leg.

Pernil is sometimes called pernil Asado and marinated with sofrito, salt, pepper, and other spices like oregano and adobo. 

It consists of sour oranges, garlic, salt, cumin, black pepper, onion powder, oregano, and olive oil mashed together in a mortar and pestle or food processor until it blends into a paste.

In contrast, Lechon Asado contains citrus and garlic sauce called mojo.

Lechon Asado can be covered with aluminum foil and roasted in the oven for hours ( 30 minutes per pound).

Roast it in an oven that has 145°f on the food thermometer until it cooks.

While pernil is normally not covered and is cooked in an oven with 185°f when measured with a food thermometer.

There are times of the year it can be hard to find sour oranges. At times like this, people tend to opt for pernil Asado instead of Lechon Asado.

But some people still go a long to improvise and make the mojo marinade. They combine orange and lime in a ratio of 2:1 and stir until they miss together.

For some people, there is no barrier to making this delicious meal; they can go a long way.

Final Thoughts

Lechon and pernil are delicious pork delicacies you will enjoy no matter the occasion.

And with its nutritional value, it is a good healthy meal if eaten with the right side dish. 

So you can choose Lechon, pernil or other pork roasts you like to eat. The choice is yours.

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