Torta de Lechón

Torta de Lechón

Torta de Lechón, excerpted from Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in Mexico: A Cookbook by Rick Martínez. Photography by Ren Fuller.

Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in Mexico: A Cookbook by Rick Martínez.

Join Rick Martínez on a once-in-a-lifetime culinary journey throughout México that begins in Mexico City and continues through 32 states, in 156 cities, and across 20,000 incredibly delicious miles.

In Mi Cocina, Rick shares deeply personal recipes as he re-creates the dishes and specialties he tasted throughout his journey. Inspired by his travels, the recipes are based on his taste memories and experiences. True to his spirit and reflective of his deep connections with people and places, these dishes will revitalize your pantry and transform your cooking repertoire.

Highlighting the diversity, richness, and complexity of Mexican cuisine, he includes recipes like herb and cheese meatballs bathed in a smoky, spicy chipotle sauce from Oaxaca called Albóndigas en Chipotle; northern México’s grilled Carne Asada that he stuffs into a grilled quesadilla for full-on cheesy-meaty food euphoria; and tender sweet corn tamales packed with succulent shrimp, chiles, and roasted tomatoes from Sinaloa on the west coast. Rick’s poignant essays throughout lend context—both personal and cultural—to quilt together a story that is rich and beautiful, touching and insightful.

Mi Cocina: Recipes and Rapture from My Kitchen in Mexico: A Cookbook is available at and    

Torta de Lechón

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.


2 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled

1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

¼ cup plus 1½ teaspoons Morton kosher salt (3.38 oz/96 g)

¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (1.4 oz/40 g)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 tablespoon dried

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for roasting

1 to 4 tablespoons 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 kg) skin-on, bone-in pork shoulder

12 ounces (354 ml) 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 when roasting. Be sure to use all of it! Wrap the pork tightly in a few layers of plastic wrap, wipe the sheet pan clean, set the pork back on the sheet pan, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to 5 days.
  4. Arrange a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 275°F.
  5. Line a large roasting pan with two layers of heavy-duty foil. Place a 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, preheat the 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 colour), for 5 to 10 minutes.
  10. Remove the chicharrón (crispy skin) and cut or break 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, curtido, and extra brine from the jalapeños splashed on top.


Double batch of Salsa de Aguacate, Chiles Jalapeños en Escabeche plus brine, Curtido

Recipe reprinted with permission from Clarkson Potter.

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