Skip to main content

Puerto Rico’s Pork Highway Is a Meat Lover’s Dream

Pork is a staple across Latin America, but few places showcase the simplistic beauty of the meat than the “Pork Highway” in Puerto Rico. While pork hasn’t been integral to Puerto Rico’s cuisine for the entirety of its history, pigs were brought by Columbus, so residents of the island have had a few centuries to perfect their pork-cooking techniques (for which we are very, very thankful).

The dozens of restaurants that make up the “La Ruta del Lechón,” or “Pork Highway,” have become a bit of a tourist excursion of late, but this doesn’t stop the locals from also continuing to congregate as the delicious menu options provide a roadside oasis. With pigs roasting on open spits, their skin crispy and gorgeously caramelized and meat that tastes like heaven, it’s not hard to see why it’s become so popular.

Pork Highway Lechon Head
Natasha Moustache/Don Q Rum

For most meat eaters, hearing the words “Pork Highway” quickly elicits excitement and a breathless, “I can’t wait to get there.” That’s all for good reason. If you’ve got the meat sweats already, it’s OK— we won’t judge.

To get to the Pork Highway, you’ll need to head about 30 miles south of San Juan to the area known as Guavate. The Pork Highway is a couple mile stretch along Route 184.

To get to the Pork Highway, you’ll need to head about 30 miles south of San Juan to the area known as Guavate. The Pork Highway is a couple mile stretch along Route 184.

The Pork Highway used to be a hidden gem among Puerto Ricans and visitors to the island, but thanks to the Travel Channel and food and travel stars like Andrew Zimmern and the late Anthony Bourdain, it’s become a must stop for foodies checking out the island.

While there’s plenty to debate about the evils of such publicity, the Pork Highway offers an incredible array of deliciously prepared, yet simple, Puerto Rican dishes. The pigs roast for eight hours before being skillfully broken down behind the counters with machetes.

Each part of the pig is used, from the succulent shredded meat to the crispy skin to the head. For adventurous eaters, snout to tail is available, including tongue, brain, or intestines.

Heaping piles of the pork are served alongside side dishes like savory smashed yuca — the root of the cassava plant — peas, crispy pork and rice, and twice-fried plantains. Pretty much everything has at least a touch of pork.

Pork Highway Sausage Rice by
Pat Evans/The Manual

If you find yourself on the pork highway and swine isn’t your thing, the chicken and blood sausages are also among the most delightful morsels ever popped into a mouth sitting on the side of a road. Also delicious are the pasteles, a tamale-like dish made with using pork, squash, and green banana, then wrapped in banana leaves and boiled. Serve it all alongside a cold Medalla beer and the meal is one not easy to forget, despite its simplicity.

On weekdays, the Pork Highway isn’t overly busy — just a steady crowd of hungry people seated at the covered picnic tables. On weekends, however, it sounds (The Manual didn’t get to experience a weekend) like all bets are off and the party begins.

Now, to find a way to connect the barbecue trails of the American South with the Pork Highway …

Pat Evans
Pat Evans is a writer based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, focusing on food and beer, spirits, business, and sports. His full…
We found a really clever use for sous vide nobody talks about
One clever Reddit user figured out a surprising use for the versatile sous vide machine
Honey dipper and honeycomb on a table

You've probably heard of the hottest "new" cooking method, sous vide — though it isn't actually new at all. It turns out that many restaurant chefs have been using this technique for ages to achieve the most consistently delicious, perfect-every-time cooking for their dishes.
Only recently have home cooks been able to take advantage of this rather modern cooking method, and it seems the recipe world has caught fire with new sous vide tips and tricks on every cooking website and blog in town. But if you're still unfamiliar with the trendy cooking method, you're not alone.

What is sous vide cooking?
Though the process may seem rather complicated and scientific, it's really quite simple to understand. The term sous vide is French, which translates to "under vacuum." In other words, food is vacuum sealed in a pouch, and then cooked in a temperature-controlled water bath.
Why is sous vide cooking useful?
Chefs and home cooks alike love to sous vide for a few reasons. One reason is for the consistency it offers. With traditional cooking methods, exact temperatures are nearly impossible to set; let alone duplicate each time you cook a particular dish. With sous vide cooking, you can set a precise temperature and that's how your dish will cook every time -- giving you the consistency you're after. The water bath and vacuum seal also allow your food to cook in its own juices, and this creates a much more tender and flavorful dish each time.
Using a sous video device to decrystallize honey
by u/cruftbox in Beekeeping
What can I cook in a sous vide machine?
The versatility of foods you can prepare in a sous vide machine is arguably unparalleled by any other kitchen appliance. You can use this machine to make vegetables, meat, chicken, pork, fish, eggs, and even desserts.

Read more
Star Wars drinking game rules you can use for all the movies
These drinking game rules will ensure that the Force of intoxication is with you, whether it's May the Fourth or not.
star wars drinking game rules cocktails death feature image

May the Fourth may come just once a year, but celebrating everything that Star Wars has given us shouldn't be confined to a single day. You should feel free to rewatch your favorite Star Wars films whenever you want, especially since they're so conveniently located on Disney Plus.

As fun as lounging and binge-watching is in and of itself, you might find that adding alcohol to the equation really spices things up. This is why movie drinking games are a great way to take any film you've already seen and add a whole new level of entertainment on top of it. With 11 different movies to choose from, we thought it best to create one list of Star Wars drinking game rules to rule them all. So whether you're starting with the original trilogy or jumping ahead to The Force Awakens, here are some drinking guidelines to try to stick to throughout.

Read more
The very best airport watering holes, from LAX to JFK
Flying this travel season? We suggest a good drink at one of these outstanding airport bars
A beer pint at the airport.

Travel season is upon us, which means moseying through an airport en route to a special trip or vacation. That process is made all the better with a quality drink.

Fortunately, today's airports are pretty generous when it comes to quality food and drink options. Yet, with so many terminals and slim windows in between flights, it pays to know exactly where you are going. So we rounded up the best watering holes in some of the busiest airports in the country.

Read more