Leitão is the most important gastronomic tradition in Bairrada.
I’ll show you how to prepare and roast a perfect Leitão da Bairrada.
We buy the piglet on the local slaughter house so it comes clean and ready to prepare.
First of all we insert a stainless steel tube from the tail to the mouth and tight it firmly to it with a bit of wire.
Then we rub the pepper sauce inside the thoracic cavity, neck, ears, etc.
The pepper sauce is made of 2 garlic cloves, 50 grs of white pepper, a hand full of salt and 2 spoons of pig fat. In a blender, this mixture is transformed into a paste, until a very smooth texture is achieved.
The piglet is stitched to keep the sauce inside.
The final step is pricking the skin so that bubbles don’t form during roasting.
Now it’s time to heat the oven with some “molhos de vides”.
The right temperature is “measured” by the color of the surface of the bricks. When you set the wood on fire, the interior of the oven blackens. But as the temperature rises, that layer of smoke is burned and the bricks turn white!
To keep a heat source inside the oven the live coal, set aside, is covered with ashes.
The first 20 minutes are the most important because the leitão may burn if the temperature is high.
To have a crispy skin some people use a branch of laurel with white wine to rub the skin, spray it with white wine or even rub it with the fatty pepper sauced.
It takes about 2 hours to roast and it needs to be turned around a few times to have an even roast.
At last, when it is taken out, we make a small hole below to drain the pepper sauce while it is hot and liquid.
It’s ready to eat!
Leitão da Bairrada is paired with red or white sparkling wine! ;)
You can read a nice Leitão da Bairrada “review” at Catavino.