Lechon Asado (Cuban Mojo Pork Roast) is a popular and traditional dish in Cuban cuisine. The recipe involves marinating a pork shoulder in a zesty and flavorful mojo sauce, slow roasting it in the oven until it’s tender and juicy, and serving it with a variety of tasty sides. The aroma of the pork as it cooks is enough to make your mouth water and the flavor is out of this world. This recipe is perfect for family gatherings, dinner parties or special occasions. It’s also sure to impress your guests with its succulent taste and vibrant flavors.
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Why We Love This Recipe
- Flavorful and Zesty: The mojo sauce used to marinate the pork shoulder is packed with flavor and gives the meat a tangy, savory taste that’s hard to resist.
- Tender and Juicy: Slow roasting the pork shoulder in the oven results in a melt-in-your-mouth texture that’s juicy and delicious.
- Versatile: The pork shoulder can be served with a variety of sides and accompaniments, making it a versatile dish that can be customized to your liking.
- Easy to Make: Using less than ten ingredients, this recipe is actually quite simple to make and doesn’t require any fancy equipment or techniques.
- Cultural Significance: Lechon Asado Cuban Mojo Pork is a beloved dish in Cuban cuisine and has cultural significance for those who grew up with it or have roots in Cuban culture.
What is Lechón Asado?
Lechon asado is a traditional Latin American dish that typically consists of marinated and roasted pork. The name “lechon” comes from the Spanish word for suckling pig, but the dish can be made with pork of any age.
The preparation of lechon asado can vary depending on the region and the cook’s personal preference. In general, the pork is marinated in a mixture of herbs and spices, which can include garlic, onion, cumin, oregano, and various citrus juices. The marinated pork is then typically roasted on a spit or in an oven until it is crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. Lechon asado is a popular dish in many Latin American countries, including Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. It is often served at special occasions such as weddings, holidays, and festivals.
What is Mojo Sauce?
Mojo sauce is a tangy and flavorful sauce that is popular in Cuban cuisine. It is typically made with a blend of garlic, citrus juice (usually sour orange juice), olive oil, and spices such as cumin and oregano. Other variations of mojo sauce may include ingredients such as onion, bell peppers, or chili peppers, depending on the recipe and the region where it’s made. Mojo sauce is often used as a marinade for meats such as pork or chicken, or as a condiment to accompany grilled or roasted meats, fish, or vegetables. It is known for its bold flavor and is a staple of Latin American cuisine.
Overview of Ingredients
- Pork Shoulder: The main ingredient in our recipe is a 5-6 pound bone-in pork shoulder. You can also use boneless. If yours includes the rind (skin), it should be removed before cooking. We get most of our proteins from Butcher Box and this high quality pork shoulder was no exception! Not sponsored we just love the quality that much!
- Citrus Juices: We use a combination of orange, lime, and lemon juices. Alternatively, sour oranges can be used, which is used in the traditional recipe.
- Olive Oil: Adds richness and helps to distribute the flavors of the other ingredients.
- Garlic powder: Garlic powder is a convenient and easy-to-use way to add garlic flavor to the marinade. We chose not to use fresh garlic cloves due to the slow cook as we didn’t want it to burn.
- Fresh Garlic Cloves: We will use fresh garlic in the sauce for serving.
- Ground cumin: Cumin adds a warm, earthy flavor to the marinade.
- Dried oregano: Oregano is another herb commonly used in Latin American cooking, and it adds a slightly bitter and aromatic flavor.
- Salt and black pepper: To taste.
How to Make Mojo Pork Roast (Lechon Asado)
Preheat the oven to 275F.
In a small bowl, combine the orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Whisk until combined.
To prepare the pork shoulder, take a sharp thin knife and poke 2-inch holes all over it every few inches apart.
Place pork in a large zip top bag. Pour half of the mojo marinade over the pork shoulder, making sure to cover it’s well coated.
Refrigerate and marinate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Remove from fridge allow to rest at room temperature for about an hour.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil lengthwise and another longwise.
Transfer the pork and its marinade to the foil lined baking sheet. Fold up all sides of the foil and loosely seal so there is enough room for air to circulate. There should be no gaps or holes.
Roast the pork shoulder in the preheated oven for 3 hours. After 3 hours, unfold the foil and crank the oven heat up to 325F.
Roast for another 2-3 hours or until the meat is tender. The internal temperature should be at least 185F for carving. If you’d like fall apart “pulled pork”, let the internal temp go to at least 200F.
Remove the pork shoulder from the oven and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes before carving.
To make the sauce, add a few tablespoons of the pork drippings to the reserved mojo marinade along with fresh minced garlic and oregano. Whisk the mixture together and season to taste.
Serve the pork shoulder hot garnished with parsley or cilantro. Enjoy!
What to Serve With Mojo Pork Shoulder Roast
- Rice and Beans: A classic side dish, rice and beans make a perfect pairing with mojo pork. You can make a simple side of white or brown rice and black or red beans, or you can jazz it up with some sautéed onions, garlic, and spices.
- Fried Sweet Plantains: Sweet and starchy fried plantains are a tasty and satisfying side dish. Simply slice the plantains and fry them until they’re golden brown and crispy.
- Tostones: Tostones are twice-fried green plantain slices that are crispy and savory.
- Skillet Green Beans: A go to, easy side dish you can whip up in just a few minutes.
- Salad: A light and refreshing salad can help balance out the richness of the pork. Try a simple salad of mixed greens, tomatoes, and cucumbers, dressed with a citrus vinaigrette.
How to Store Leftovers
- Refrigerate: Place the pork in a large container that is airtight or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil once it cools down a bit.
- Use Within 3-4 Days: Leftover cooked pork should be consumed within 3-4 days. If you’re not planning to use it within this time frame, consider freezing instead.
- Freeze: Wrap the pork tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, then place it in a freezer-safe container or bag. Label the container or bag with the date and contents, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
What to do with mojo pork leftovers?
Here are some of our favorite ideas for using leftover mojo pork shoulder:
- Tacos: Shred the leftover pork and use it as a filling for tacos. Add some shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, and a dollop of sour cream or guacamole for a delicious and easy meal.
- Cuban Sandwiches: Layer the leftover pork on a toasted bun with some sliced cheese, pickles, and mustard for a tasty and hearty sandwich.
- Quesadillas: Simply add some shredded cheese, sautéed onions and peppers, and a few spoonfuls of the pork to a tortilla and cook until crispy.
- Fried Rice: Sauté some veggies, add some cooked rice and the shredded pork, and stir in some soy sauce and scrambled eggs for a quick and easy meal.
- Salad: Use the leftover pork as a topping for a salad. Add some mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and a citrus vinaigrette.
What other cuts can I use to make Mojo pork?
- Pork Tenderloin: This cut of meat is lean and tender, and is a great option if you’re looking for a lower-fat alternative to pork shoulder. It can be marinated in the same way as the pork shoulder and cooked in the oven or on the grill.
- Pork chops: Pork chops can be marinated in the same way as the pork shoulder, and they’re a great option if you’re looking for a quick and easy meal. Simply marinate the pork chops for a few hours, then grill or pan-fry them until they’re cooked through.
Do I have to use pork with my Mojo sauce?
Yep! Here are some great protein alternatives to consider.
- Chicken: Chicken is a popular alternative to pork for making mojo. You can use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs and marinate them in the same mixture of citrus juice, garlic, and spices. Grill or bake the chicken until it’s cooked through and serve it with rice, beans, and vegetables.
- Beef: Beef can also be used to make mojo. Flank steak or skirt steak are good choices, as they are thin cuts of meat that absorb the marinade well. Marinate the beef for several hours or overnight, then grill or pan sear until it’s cooked to your liking.
- Fish: Mojo can also be used as a marinade for fish. Mahi-mahi, snapper, or halibut are good options. Marinate the fish for 30 minutes to an hour, then grill or bake it until it’s cooked through.
How do I reheat leftover mojo pork shoulder?
Microwave: Place the pork into a microwave-safe dish and cover with a lid or paper towel. Heat on high for 1-2 minutes. Stir and heat for an additional 1-2 minutes until heated through.
Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (176°C). Place the pork onto a baking sheet and cover loosely with foil. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until heated through.
Stovetop: Place about 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the pork and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring often, until warmed through.
Can I make the mojo sauce ahead of time?
Yes, you can make the mojo sauce ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Be sure to give it a good stir before using it to marinate the pork.
Can I make mojo pork in a slow cooker?
Yes you can! Just pace the pork shoulder in a large slow cooker and pour the marinade over it. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until the pork is tender and falls apart easily with a fork.
Can I use bottled mojo sauce instead of making my own?
Yes, you can use bottled mojo sauce if you prefer. However, making your own mojo sauce allows you to customize the flavor to your liking and ensures that the ingredients are fresh and high-quality.
Lechon Asado Mojo Pork Roast is a traditional Cuban dish that is easy to make and full of flavor. The dish involves marinating the pork shoulder in a combination of citrus juices, olive oil, and spices for a minimum of 12 hours to achieve the perfect flavor and tenderness. It can be served with a variety of sides, such as rice, beans, and plantains, and can even be used in leftover recipes like tacos, sandwiches, and salads. Overall, this dish is a great way to bring some Cuban flair to your mealtime and impress your friends and family with your culinary skills.
Lechon Asado (Mojo Pork Roast)
- 1 cup sour orange juice, or 3/4 cup of orange juice, 1/8 cup of lime juice and 1/8 cup lemon juice
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp black pepper
For Pork Shoulder
- 5-6 pound pork shoulder, bone-in or boneless, rind removed.
- 1 tsp oregano
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 275F.
- In a medium bowl, combine the orange juice, lemon juice, lime juice, olive oil, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Whisk until combined.
- To prepare the pork shoulder, take a sharp thin knife and poke 2-inch holes all over it every few inches apart.
- Place pork in a large zip top bag. Pour half of the mojo marinade over the pork shoulder, making sure to cover it’s well coated.
- Refrigerate and marinate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Remove from fridge allow to rest at room temperature for about an hour.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil lengthwise and another longwise.
- Transfer the pork and its marinade to the foil lined baking sheet. Fold up all sides of the foil and loosely seal so there is enough room for air to circulate. There should be no gaps or holes.
- Roast the pork shoulder in the preheated oven for 3 hours. After 3 hours, unfold the foil and crank the oven heat up to 325F.
- Roast for another three hours or until the meat is tender. The internal temperature should be at least 185F for carving. If you’d like fall apart “pulled pork”, let the internal temp go to at least 200F.
- Remove the pork shoulder from the oven and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes before carving.
- To make the sauce, add a few tablespoons of the pork drippings to the reserved mojo marinade along with fresh minced garlic and oregano. Whisk the mixture together and season to taste.
- Serve the pork shoulder hot garnished with parsley or cilantro. Enjoy!
The lechón was so flavorful and easy to make. I served mine with arroz con habichuelas and a garden salad.
I must say I adored this pork recipe – the meat was so tender and juicy this is now my go to for lechon!
This pork dish was so easy to make and required a few ingredients. I put the pork in some leftover taco shells and they tasted great!!
Thank you for providing slow cooker instructions! I made the sauce ahead of time and used the slow cooker and my lechón was SO tender and flavorful. Perfect recipe.