Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork

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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.

Cuban mojo marinated pork roast shredded

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!

» You might also like this Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients for Cuban Mojo Marinade
  • 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. 

Helpful Tips

  • 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.

What Cut of Pork to Use

pork shoulder
Pork Shoulder

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

Step 1: Mix the marinade

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.

Cuban Mojo Marinade

Step 2: Marinate

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.

Marinating a pork roast

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.

Step 3: Cook

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 along with the marinade, and then put 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.

uncooked marinated pork roast

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.

Step 4: Rest & Serve

Remove the pork from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes before serving. This will allow the pork to further break down and reabsorb some of the juices. It will become incredibly tender as it rests.

To serve it, you can slice it or shred it.

Cuban mojo marinated pork roast

How To Cut Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork

  • Place the rested pork roast on the cutting board with the fatty side facing up to prevent the meat from drying out while you’re cutting.
  • Identify the grain (the grain will run in lines along the meat)
  • Slice against the grain. This helps to break up the muscle fibers ad keep each slice tender.
  • Using a sharp carving knife when slicing, aim for slices about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.
  • Adjust your cutting angle where the grains change direction
  • Transfer the cut slices to a serving plate and enjoy
Cuban mojo marinated pork roast

What To Serve With Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork

This Cuban mojo pork, also known as “Pernil” in some regions, pairs well with a variety of sides and accompaniments such as:

  • Cuban black beans and rice
  • Fried plantains (Tostones)
  • Boiled cassava marinated in mojo sauce (Yuca con Mojo)
  • Cuban bread
  • Potato salads
  • Coleslaw
  • Fried yucca (fried cassava)

How To Store Leftover Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork

  • Divide the leftover pork into smaller portions and store them in tightly sealed airtight containers.
  • If you have leftover mojo sauce, store it separately in an airtight container to use to drizzle over the pork when reheating.
  • Place any leftover pork or mojo marinade in the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking, so it doesn’t start to grow bacteria.
Cuban mojo marinated pork roast shredded

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Cuban mojo sauce made of?

Cuban mojo sauce, also known simply as “mojo,” is oil, orange juice, lime juice, minced garlic, chopped onions, dried oregano, black pepper, cumin, cilantro (fresh herbs), and salt.

What goes with Cuban mojo pork?

Cuban mojo-marinated pork pairs well with; black beans cooked with white rice, Tostones (Fried Plantains), Yuca con Mojo: Boiled cassava marinated in mojo sauce, bread, salads, fried yucca, corn on the cob, or potato salad.

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. 

Cuban sandwich

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Cuban mojo marinated pork roast

Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork

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.
4.78 from 110 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Marinating Time: 1 day
Total Time: 1 day 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 481kcal

Ingredients

For the marinade:

  • 1/4 cup (59.15 ml) Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1 cups (236.59 ml) orange juice
  • 1/3 cup (78.86 ml) lime juice
  • 5 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons (4 g) dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons (12 g) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon (0.4 g) cilantro chopped

For the pork:

  • 3 pound (1.36 kg) pork shoulder

Instructions

  • 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 along with the marinade.
  • 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.

Notes

  • You can set aside some of the marinade to make a sauce later on.
  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 481kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 1324mg | Potassium: 935mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 177IU | Vitamin C: 42mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 3mg

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25 thoughts on “Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork

  1. Doug Goff says:

    3 stars
    Would like to try this in a slow cooker. At the end there is instructions on how to do so, but when printing the recipe it doesn’t include these instructions. I can’t edit the recipe on my MAC, and my old brain won’t remember the slow cooker way.

  2. Kathy says:

    5 stars
    Made this today. Marinated last night….threw it and marinade in slow cooker on high for 6 hours.took the meat out and thickened the juices with some Wondra. Mixed back in the pork and now having “BBQ” sandwich’s. Its delicious…the marinade is the best.

  3. M. Negus says:

    I’m making this today, but I don’t know how long to cook it. The summary says it cooks for 2.5 hrs, but the instructions say 3 hrs covered plus 2 hrs uncovered. What???
    I’m guessing the pork will taste good, but the RECIPE has issues.

    • Angela Morris says:

      Sorry for the confusion. Once you put the roast in the oven it will bake covered at 275° F for 3 hours, then you will remove the lid or take the foil off and continue cooking at 325°F for 2 hours or until the internal temperature is 190°F.

  4. JOAN G says:

    I make mojo pulled pork; however while trying to keep it on a steam table it tends to get mussy or soggy. How can I do to prevent this?

    • Angela Morris says:

      Hi Joan, thanks for stopping by and trying this great recipe! It’s the fat and the liquid in the pork that makes it soggy. It might be helpful to make sure you’ve drained the pork of as much fat as you can before you put it in the steamer.

  5. Carla says:

    I’m making this in two days with a 4 lb. bone-in pork shoulder. Please tell me how long to roast at stated temps with lid and then without. Thank you

    • Angela Morris says:

      Hi Carla, you are going to love how this pork comes out. I would stick with the 3 hours covered and 2 hours uncovered cooking time. Test the internal temperature at that time and see where you are at. You may need to cook it a bit more at that point to reach 190° F.

  6. Adam says:

    5 stars
    I’ve tried several pulled pork recipes and never seemed to get it right – and I’m actually a pretty good chef in the kitchen! (I love to cook). Well I tried this yesterday and OMG – I was DELICIOUS! I made a 6.25 pound pork so I cooked it at 300 for 3 1/2 hours. I kept basting it with the juices to it stayed moist. Then I took the lid off the dutch oven and cooked it on 325 for maybe another 1/2 hour to 45 mins. It pulled apart and slowly got browned and crunchy. We have company coming tomorrow for a pool party and I’m making another one for my guests that’s how good it was! Thank you!

    • Angela Morris says:

      Wow, Adam, that is high praise. Thank you! We are so happy that you loved it. I’m sure it will be a hit with your guests.

  7. Maggie Barnhill says:

    5 stars
    This was the most wonderfully moist and citrusy pork. I am excited to try the Cubano sandwiches, but having a hard time thinking about using the pork in a sandwich because it’s so delicious exactly as it is. Thank you! Best pork ever.!

  8. Traci S says:

    The recipe isn’t clear on whether you are supposed to put the marinade in the dutch oven with the pork? It says to put the marinade in the cookie sheet lined with foil but I am not sure about if you are using the dutch oven if you are supposed to put the marinade in the pot or not.

    • Angela Morris says:

      Sorry for the confusion Traci. You do want to add the marinade to the Dutch oven along with the pork for added flavor while cooking.

  9. Pat says:

    I made this today in the slow cooker the texture is great but the sourness is too sour for me. I would substitute regular orange juice next time.

  10. JLK says:

    This recipe sounds amazing, but I have a smaller pork roast. Should I adjust the marinating and cooking time, or can I follow the same instructions as in the recipe?

    • Angela Morris says:

      This recipe cooks for 5 hours using a 3 pound roast. If your roast is smaller then that you will most likely use a shorter cooking time. Check the internal temperature when you uncover the roast and increase the heat. You are looking for an internal temp of 190° F. There is no need to adjust the marinating time, let the roast soak up all that flavor.

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