Lechon Asado, Cuban Roast Pork

Can you believe we have snow, in Minnesota, in April. Really, our weather has been unpredictable with a few days in the 70’s but mostly just cold and dreary. Never mind, though, because I’ve gone to Miami, in my mind, at least. Here’s a glorious dish: Lechon Asado, Cuban Pork Roast. This is the one normally made with blood orange and a ton of garlic. It’s the perfect pick me up.

Lechon Asado, Cuban Roast Pork – even left over the next day it was juicy & tender
Lechon Asado, Cuban Roast Pork – even left over the next day it was juicy & tender

My Lechon Asado is made from pork shoulder, slow roasted in the oven. The smell of the roast, garlic and orange wafted through the house, the kitchen windows fogged over just a bit, and dinner was a feast! This is a great dish for a party or just to cook up for  the family and have left overs to work with. I vote party, though! 🙂

Lechon Asado, Cuban Roast Pork – sorry for the poor photo, taken at night…

If you can find a fresh ham, use it. The shoulder is wonderful and flavorful, but doesn’t have that crackling skin you’ll get with a fresh ham. You will still get a wonderful crust, though! No sour orange? That’s ok, too, and the Three Guys from Miami say so! How can you help but love three guys that love to cook?

Lechon Asado, Cuban Roast Pork - left over with sauce
Lechon Asado, Cuban Roast Pork – left over with sauce

I have them to thank for the inspiration and the bulk of the recipe, which I only slightly modified, so be sure to check out their site. I made my mojo in the food processor, but the Three Guys show instructions on making by hand – and show grilling instructions, too.

Lechon Asado, Cuban Roast Pork - sauce from drippings and reserved Mojo
Lechon Asado, Cuban Roast Pork – sauce from drippings and reserved Mojo

This roast is slowly cooked and can be cooked until tender and juicy and sliced, or a little longer until it falls off the bone in chunks and shreds. Best of all, even if it is cooked to slice for a dinner (and maybe Cuban Sandwiches, later) it can still be put back in the oven (or in a covered pan) a few days later with a little liquid, covered, and cooked until you’re able to shred it, giving you another way to rework any left overs. Speaking of left overs, while I usually make my Cuban Black Bean Soup with Ham, using the bone from this shoulder gives it a whole new flavor.

Fiesta Friday Badge Button I party @There probably won’t be left overs if I take this to Fiesta Friday, an ongoing bloggers event put on by Angie of the Novice Gardener. This week it’s co-hosted by Julianna @Foodie On Board and Hilda @Along The Grapevine.Thanks, Guys!

Do make the sauce with the reserved drippings; it’s good enough to make up for having cooked this in the oven! Serve with black beans and rice for a fantastic dinner. And try a Cuban (Cubano) Sandwich with the left overs – they’re insanely good. The recipe is coming up next!

Cubano (Cuban) Sandwich
Cubano (Cuban) Sandwich

Lechon Asado, Cuban Roast Pork

  • Servings: 16
  • Time: 5 hrs + marinade
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Mojo (Marinade):

  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • a head of garlic, separated, smashed, skin removed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sour orange juice and finely grated zest (If you can’t get sour orange juice in your area, use two parts orange to one part lemon and one part lime)
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Add peppercorns to food processor and pulse to break down. Add garlic, salt, dried oregano, onion and pulse again. Slowly, through the feed, add the sour orange juice until mixed thoroughly. The mixture should not be completely smooth.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan until warmed, remove from heat and carefully add the mash and zest to it. Whisk to combine and let cool. Place a half a cup of it in the refrigerator.

Shoulder & Sauce:

  • 8 pound fresh ham or pork shoulder roast
  • 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced

Pierce the pork all over, multiple times with a very sharp knife, working it in fairly deeply. Ready a roasting dish, just a bit larger than the pork, line with a generous amount of plastic (enough to wrap the pork in) and place the pork on top.

Pour the garlic mixture all over the pork, rubbing it in to the cuts and crevices. Pull the plastic up over the sides and top, sealing the marinade tightly to the pork. Cover and refrigerate two to three hours, preferably over night.

When ready to cook, remove the roast about 30 minutes before hand, preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove plastic and scoop as much of the marinade as possible up and over the pork. Place in oven, turn down to 325 degrees and cook for about 4 1/2 hours for a tender roast (temperature should register at 170 to 175 degrees) or longer for a pulled roast (temperature should be at about 195.)

Baste roast occasionally with the juices, and watch the liquid level at the bottom of the pan. Add water if necessary – do not let it dry and burn.

Remove from oven, tent lightly with foil and let rest for 20 to 25 minutes. Place the juices in a saucepan, defat if desired (strain & save the fat if making bread for Cuban sandwiches) and heat over medium high. Add in onion and cook for several minutes until the onion is tender. Add the reserved Mojo and cook for a moment or two longer. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Pour a little of the sauce over the sliced or shredded pork and pass the rest.

* 3 Guys say to allow 1/4 to 1/2 pound per person. I can serve this to a crowd and still have left overs for other meals, especially if I serve this with lots of delicious sides.

from the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com

Photos: Note that I had forgotten the peppercorns! I had to unwrap my roast and add them. See how many times I “stabbed” this roast – really work the mojo into the slits! Wrap tightly to hold all that mojo close to the meat.

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Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read {Strategies Applied} for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.

Put your own spin on it:

Variations to the Mojo include cumin, parsley, cilantro & the addition of some type of sweetener, sugar or corn syrup.

29 thoughts on “Lechon Asado, Cuban Roast Pork”

  1. I had Cuban pork in a restaurant in Miami once but I have to say it looked nothing like this, this looks delicious! The sandwich looks amazing, what a perfect way to cook pork shoulder 🙂

    1. Thanks much! I think it is usually cooked to a more shredded stage, but I think it’s great as a roast the first night, then left overs can always be cooked up until they’re soft and “shreddable.”

      1. Very clever and I love the flavours you have added. The pork I had didn’t actually have much spice to it, saying that I did eat it! 🙂

  2. I adore pulled pork, especially if there is some crackling skin as a contrast in textures. Most of the cooking time is unattended, so this looks like perfect food for a crowd. Garlic, orange, onion, oregano…some of my favorites. I’ve pinned the recipe. Thank you.

    1. Thanks, Liz! Pins are always much appreciated! I also love dishes like this when a crowd is in the house because it’s just so informal and homey and it puts everyone at ease! A little Sangria or a few Mojitos and a party ensues!

  3. Oh my, gorgeous…..Cuban anything is out of this world :)….Do you use a whole head of garlic? I guess for that amount of meat, that’s doable? I love those burnt parts, to me those would go down a treat, and then sandwiches for later. I love these kinds of meals where you can make future meals with leftovers. Great recipe, I’ve pinned it. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Loretta! And yes, a whole head of garlic! And it is not overwhelmingly garlic flavored at all, it just blends in to this wonderful citrusy garlickly deliciousness.

      One large roast takes some time, but you’re right – it’s having it on hand for all the spin off meals that just makes cooking for the week so easy! 🙂 I wish more people would embrace left overs!

    1. I am wild about Cuban food which is a pretty rare thing in Minnesota. We do have one Cuban restaurant that I know of in the Twin Cities but it’s way across town! I think this is better if I do say so myself! 🙂 I can’t tell you how incredible the whole house smelled.

      I had to check Versailles menu & yelp and it looks incredible! And I spotted the Lechon Asado, too! That Bistec Picado looks so good! 🙂

  4. That Cuban sandwich looks absolutely amazing. I just had mojo chicken and congri rice for lunch, but a good Cuban pork sandwich has eluded me so far, where Cuban food is concerned. I think I’ll have to try this recipe soon.

    1. I’ve had Cuban sandwiches in various places and this one, using this pork, was incredible! A purist might say the bread makes it or breaks it, but I think it’s the pork (and ham!) Mojo chicken sounds amazing to me right now! 🙂

  5. The wonderful thing about pork shoulder is how easily it absorbs whatever flavours you add to it. A great meal for a large group and the leftovers must be just as delicious.

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