Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork is marinated overnight in a delicious citrus garlic marinade to create an incredibly savory and tender pork with tons of flavor.
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If you haven’t tried Cuban Mojo Marinade before, you are truly missing out. It’s such a flavorful way to marinate meats, like pork, and the citrusy base helps to break down the fibers in the meat to produce an incredibly tender meat.
After marinating the pork shoulder in the Cuban Mojo marinade – made with bitter orange juice and lime juice, garlic, oregano, onion, and cumin – it takes on so much more flavor. Then you cook it low and slow for hours to get that perfect tender texture.
You can enjoy this easy Cuban Mojo pork as is, or turn it into a delicious Cuban sandwich. If you’ve ever watched the movie Chef, you were probably drooling for Cuban pork the whole time. This is the recipe you need to make that!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Pork Shoulder – Pork shoulder or pork butt can be used. Read more about the differences between the two cuts of pork here. Look for one with bone-in for more flavor, and with a little bit of fat cap for extra tenderness.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Extra virgin olive oil will give the marinade a stronger taste, but regular olive oil can be used as well. In some mojo recipes, there’s no oil at all, but I really like the additional flavor.
- Orange Juice – In a traditional Cuban mojo marinade, you would use sour oranges (naranjas ágrias). Use them if you can find them, otherwise you can use regular oranges. It will just have a slightly sweeter taste than usual.
- Lime Juice – Limes give a nice acidity to balance out the orange’s sweet taste, so if you can’t find sour oranges, you must include the lime juice.
- Garlic – Fresh minced garlic adds a wonderful flavor to the marinade. It might seem like a lot of garlic, but it’s necessary for the right flavor. You can adjust the amount of garlic used.
- Onion – White or yellow onions will work best, but red onions can be used to give the marinade more of a kick.
- Dried Oregano – Adds a lovely earthiness to the marinade. You can use fresh or dried oregano.
- Salt & Black Pepper – Don’t skimp on the salt and pepper. It adds a ton of flavor. Don’t worry about adding too much salt, because the pork is large and needs a lot.
- Ground Cumin – Cumin will bring out the citrus flavors of the orange and lime in the marinade.
- Cilantro – For those who feel cilantro is “soapy,” you can skip adding it in.
What Cut of Pork to Use
A pork shoulder or butt is perfect for this recipe. The roast is large enough to serve many people, or have plenty of left overs, and it contains enough marbling inside to keep the meat moist and tender.
If you go with another cut of meat, you might find it doesn’t break down as well as shoulder does and the meat can become tough and dry.
Look for a pork shoulder that has a little bit of a fat cap on top, without skin (or you can remove it), and either bone in or boneless. Resist the urge to remove extra fat along the outside, as this creates a lot of flavor and moistness that is what makes this meat so delicious.
I usually use a pork shoulder that is 3-4 pounds, because that’s what’s just right for 2 people with a little bit of leftovers. However, if you want to make this Cuban pork for a larger crowd, you can use a shoulder up to 8 pounds. Just remember that the cooking time will increase the larger the piece of meat. It’s best to use a meat thermometer to know when the meat is done.
How to Make Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork
Start by mixing all of the marinade ingredients together in a bowl. You can give it a taste and make sure it’s seasoned properly for you. I like to add extra salt because the pork needs it for flavor.
Place the pork shoulder in a large plastic ziplock bag or a large bowl. Pour in the marinade. Place the bag or the bowl in the refrigerator overnight to marinade. The reason I like to use a ziplock bag is because it can be rotated easily. While it’s marinating, I like to move around the bag every few hours to make sure all the parts of the meat are getting covered.
Remove the bag from the refrigerator and allow the pork to come up to room temperature. It will take about 1 hour. Allowing the meat to come to room temperature helps it cook faster since the starting temperature is higher.
Move the oven rack to the lower-middle position and make sure there’s enough room between the racks to place a Dutch oven. Preheat the oven to 275°F. We’ll start off with a slow and low cook, then turn up the heat at the end to get the exterior crispy.
Remove the pork from the bag and place it in a Dutch oven roasting dish with the lid on.
If you don’t have a Dutch oven, line a rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place the pork and marinade on the foil and wrap it over the top loosely. Crimp together the ends so the foil stays together, but don’t scrunch it too tightly over the pork, so it has some room for air circulation. This will keep the pork nice and moist as it cooks.
Roast it for 3 hours. It will already have broken down a bit after this time, but you’ll continue cooking it at a higher temperature to get the outside nice and roasted.
Remove the lid of the roasting dish or fold back the tin foil. Continue cooking for another 2 hours at 325°F, or until the internal temperature reaches 190°F and is fork tender.
Remove the pork from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before serving.
Tips and Notes
- Use a meat thermometer to make sure the pork has fully cooked. It should have an internal temperature of at least 190°F to be fall apart tender. If you’d rather slice it, you can cook it to 160°F instead.
- Any left overs can be used to make Cuban sandwiches (like the movie Chef) or in quesadillas or as Mojo pulled pork sliders.
- For marinating the meat before cooking, I recommend 4 to 20 hours of marinating time. Any less doesn’t impart enough flavor and any more can cause the meat to break down too much and become soggy.
Questions About the Recipe
Can I make a sauce from the marinade?
Yes. When you make the marinade, set some aside for the sauce. When the pork has finished cooking, take some of the pork’s drippings and cook them with the mojo marinade previously set aside. On low heat, cook them together for a few minutes, then pour it over the finished pork.
Can I make the Cuban mojo marinated pork in a slow cooker?
This recipe is slow cooker friendly. Add the marinated pork to the slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on LOW, or 6 hours or HIGH. Remove the Cuban mojo marinated pork, and add it to a baking sheet. If you want the exterior to be crispy, then place it in an oven that has been preheated at 400° F until the top has browned.
What can I do with leftovers?
There are many ways you can use this Cuban mojo marinated pork. Enjoy it as is, or add it to sandwiches, burritos, salads, or quesadillas. With mostly any recipe that requires pork, you can use this mojo pork instead.
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Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork
For the marinade:
- 1/4 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
- 1 cups orange juice
- 1/3 cup lime juice
- 5 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon cilantro chopped
For the pork:
- 3 pound pork shoulder
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Season to taste.
- Place the pork in a large plastic ziplock bag. Pour in the marinade. Set the bag in the refrigerator overnight to marinade.
- Remove the bag from the refrigerator and allow the pork to come up to room temperature, about 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 275°F.
- Remove the pork from the bag and place it in a roasting dish.
- Roast, covered, in the oven for 3 hours.
- Increase heat to 325°F. Uncover the pork and continue cooking for another 2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 190°F.
- Remove the pork from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Slice and serve.
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Hi! I’m Angela and I joined the team in 2020. I love to try new foods and recipes and look forward to passing them along to you. I live in a small town in Oregon with my two adult children who enjoy experimenting with food as well.