Cuban Roast Pork holds the exalted culinary status of Southern BBQ Pulled Pork, grilled Mexican Al Pastor, or baked Kahlua Pig from Hawaii.
It's slow-cooked with a marinade of sour oranges, onion, garlic and oregano. Since sour oranges are hard to come by, unless you live in Miami, I combine regular orange and lime juice. In all, it's a killer citrus and garlic combination that makes slow-cooked pork butt (or shoulder) sweet, caramelized, fragrant and fall-off-the-bone tender.
Ingredients for my Cuban Roast Pork recipe are budget-priced at any market. I get pork shoulder on sale for about 99 cent a pound at my local Latin market, and the other fruit, veggies and herbs are cheap anytime.
In a previous post I showed you a quick Black Beans recipe. Everyone has made white rice (you can use generic quick-cooking.) I also did a favorite Cuban side of steamed Yucca a couple of years ago. For an extra rich sweet recipe, come back next week for Fried Plantains . A healthier and less starchy way to go is to accompany roast pork with my Cuban Salad - just click any name for the recipe.
Cuban Roast Pork is the kind of dish you start baking after breakfast, so it's ready for dinner. And since a large cut of meat is used, you will have plenty of leftovers. In a couple of weeks I'll show you what to do with some of it -- make a classic Cuban Sandwich!
- 4-8 pounds of pork - shoulder or butt, with or without bone. Boneless cooks faster, but is more expensive.
- 2 cups of orange juice - or fresh squeezed (about 6 oranges)
- 1 cup of lime or lemon juice - from a bottle or fresh (about 3 whole fruits)
- 1 whole onion chopped
- 2 tablespoons garlic - chopped fresh, or from jar.
- 1 tablespoon of oregano - dried or fresh
- Salt and pepper to taste
Take large pork shoulder and pierce deeply all over with a knife, so it will absorb marinade. In a large bowl, mix together orange and lime juice, chopped onion, garlic and oregano. Place pork in a large pan, ceramic or plastic bowl or a large Ziploc bag . Pour marinade over pork and season with salt and pepper. Cover with lid or foil.
Store in refrigerator a couple of hours or overnight. Turn pork a couple of times to make sure marinade is evenly distributed over meat.
Later, place pork, still covered or foil-covered, in a 350-degree oven. Leave bottom of pork exposed to water, to keep pork moist, during long baking time.
Bake 5 - 6 hours. Baste with marinade, from bottom of pan, every hour - cover and continue baking. After a couple of hours, you may need to add water, a cup at a time, as liquid cooks out.
Check tenderness of pork at about 5 hours. Done when pork easily separates with a fork. Cook another hour or two if not tender enough. Cooking time may vary, depending on the size of the pork roast.
I've even cooked it for 8 hours for a large pork shoulder with bone. Just make sure there is water or broth in the roasting pan to keep the pork from drying out. A keep it loosely cover in foil.
To serve, break off large chunks of pork and arrange on a plate with white rice and black beans (or salad and sides mentioned earlier). To have a total Cuban dinner experience, pour over roast pork my easy-to-make Mojo Criollo Sauce with sliced onion (click here for the recipe).