Cuban mojo is hands down the most versatile marinade. This citrus marinade pairs so well with any meat, fish, or poultry. It is strong and acidic, which will help tenderize your meat. This marinade is a staple in Cuban cuisine. In fact it is so good, you can use it as a condiment over something like tostones (twice-fried plantains).
Having influences from Spain, Africa, and indigenous people from the Caribbean, Cuba’s food reflects various flavors. During the Colonial era, pigs and cattle were introduced to Cuba. While beef has long disappeared from Cubas diet, due to Fidel Castro’s dictatorship established during the Cuban Revolution, pork is still mostly available, making it one of our most traditional dishes. You will often see pork featured as the main protein at Cuban festivities.
Chinese immigrants, who came to work once African slavery was outlawed, also playit a large part in Cuban cuisine. They brought over rice, which was considered an exotic food item. Root starchy vegetables, such as yucca, or green plantains came from Africa. A plate of pork with mojo, white rice, black beans and tostones (see my posted recipes) will make any Cuban happy to be at the party.
Now that I’m done with the brief history class, let’s get back to this slow roasted pork and citrus marinade. I suggest that you allow the pork to sit in the marinade for at least 24 hours, however, it is not necessary to achieve tremendous flavor. Roasting the pork low and slow will ensure the marinade seeps into the meat.
If you can find ready made mojo at your local grocery store, then by all means use it. But if you can find sour oranges to make your own, even better! Can’t find either one? No worries. Equal parts of lemon juice, lime juice, and orange juice will do just fine. The trick to this pork butt recipe is to insert whole garlic cloves into the meat along with the marinade. Herbs like dried oregano and bay leaves are also an important component to this marinade, which give the pork a fragrant earthy flavor.
You can pair this whole Boston pork butt with just about any side. Or, how about a good ol Cuban sandwich?! Like this post if you want to have my recipe for a Cuban “Cubano” sandwich. Let’s eat.
Here is the recipe:
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Note: If you can find sour oranges buy as many as you need for 3 cups of juice, or a 24 oz. bottle of ready made mojo marinade. Otherwise, follow the ingredients list.
- A 6-7 Lb. Boston butt pork shoulder
- 1 cup of orange juice
- 1 cup of lime juice
- 1 cup of lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp of salt
- 1 Tbsp of black ground pepper
- 1 Tbsp of garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp of onion powder
- 1 Tbsp of dried oregano
- ½ Tbsp of cumin
- 1 whole head of fresh garlic, peeled
- 4 Bay leaves
- In a large bowl add the orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, salt, black ground pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, cumin, and bay leaves. Whisk all the ingredients together. Set aside.
- Place the pork in a large deep roasting pan and pierce holes throughout the meat. Do not pierce the fat cap. You may lightly score the fat cap in a diamond pattern if you wish.
- Insert whole garlic cloves into each pierced cavity.
- Now pour the marinade over the pork and cover it with aluminium foil or cling wrap.
- Let it marinate in the fridge for 24 hours. If you want to cook this as soon as possible, 30 minutes to 1 hour is sufficient time.
- Preheat the oven to 250° F. Place the pork fat cap side up, and roast for 4 hours. About 30-40 minutes per pound depending on altitude where you live.
- Take the pork butt out of the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes. Carefully scoop out some of the drained liquid, but do not discard it. This is merely the marinade and juices of the pork. Keep it to drizzle over the pork later!
- Place the pork back in the oven and broil on low heat for 15 minutes, or until the skin is bubbling, brown, and crispy.
- Take the pork butt out of the oven and let it rest 10 minutes before carving. Enjoy!