MIAMI (CBS4) – As families settle in for Christmas Eve dinners, some will be eating a little later Tuesday night.

That’s because preparing the traditional “Noche Buena” roasted pig takes hours, sometimes an entire day.

At Mary’s Ranch Inc on NW 122nd Avenue in Hialeah, people lined up before dawn to pick out their pig for the feast.

Once the pig is brought home, it’s time to season it with a mix of garlic, cumin, sour orange juice, salt, pepper and other spices.

The “Caja China” is a popular brand of box for roasting the pig.

It can be purchased or fashioned out of concrete blocks and steel mesh.

Some families dig a pit, dump in charcoal, and roast the pig on a spit.

No matter how you do it the end result, called “lechon asado” is always mouth-watering and a holiday favorite among Cubans and Puerto Ricans in South Florida.

The roasting of a pig for “Noche Buena” is a tradition for some families that has been passed down from generation to generation.

Noche Buena literally translates to “Good Night”.  And when surrounded by family, friends and food, how can it not be?

Typical Noche Buena celebrations last well in to the night. Some families exchange gifts at midnight while other might attend a church service.

Time is spent eating, socializing, and reflecting on a year of blessings and the true reason for Christmas.


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