Wednesday, February 01, 2012

cuban pork roast + mojo and chimichurri

By Julie

It's been a very garlicky weekend. I'm sure I smell great. It's also been a very Latiny weekend, filled with yuca, chorizo, cilantro (homemade) mayonnaise, mojo, chimichurri, lime, guacamole, plantains, jicama, burro bananas, and of course, this pork. And then there was the decidedly very down home Americana activity of smoking bacon. My lord I love our smoker. Waiting for the pork belly to defrost, then cure, then smoke was 100% worth it. Holy crap. Let the bacon eating commence! Duh, already started. Garlic and applewood smoke. The smells of a very productive, delicious weekend.
I'm a little wary that this dish is just a liiiiiittle too similar to my carnitas post. Not to knock the Cubans (they should be knocked on about everything else except food), but this is a citrusy, crispy, slow-roasted hunk of pork... just, there are no mountains of lard. Which is good because since doing the Whole 30 I've been struggling to keep my jars of animal fats filled. Maybe I should get around to clarifying all the butter I have lying around. But really, this is a different dish from carnitas. It's incredibly lime-y and garlicky and smidge oregano-y.
I have a problem with making too much food for parties and get-togethers. My friend Tiffany has the same problem. Together, we're a disaster. We had a spread for the Tebow game on Saturday and even after making several cuts to the menu beforehand in an attempt to mend our ways, we still ended up with what looked like an almost unadulterated amount of food after the game was done (depression might have been a factor). Figuring that I could tie this recipe with something I could make for the party, I made mojo and chimichurri dipping sauces. Shrimp for the party, and then the extra I saved for dipping this pork in. Genius!
The size of the pork shoulder you use here doesn't totally matter. The original recipe called for a 7 1/2 pound one. I cooked my smaller one here for 8 hours and it was amaaazing. As long as you're basting it and the temperature is super low, it pretty much will be perfect. A bone-in one is always good - I love cooking with the bone - but heck, what's on sale is on sale. If you have leftovers (pray that you will), peel away chunks of pork from the main hunk and heat them up in a cast iron pan in a 500 degree oven. You will thank me after you stuff all the crispy chunks of pork in your face. The leftover basting sauce also makes a pretty great pan sauce.

cuban pork
adapted from Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn

3 limes
10 garlic cloves, peeled
4 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon coarse salt
3 1/2+ pound pork shoulder (bone or not, whatever you want)

1. Zest the limes, then cut away the peel. Place the lime segments in a blender or food processor along with the zest, garlic, oregano, oil, and salt. Purée until smooth.

2. Place the pork in a roasting pan and score any large swaths of fat. Mine was missing the big fat cap (d'oh) so I just scored in a few places. Rub the purée all over the pork. Cover and refrigerate for 8 - 24 hours. Flip the roast around a few times and redistribute the rub.

3. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Remove meat from refrigerator 30 minutes before roasting. Add 1 cup of water to the pan and place, fat side up, in the oven. Roast for 6 to 8 hours, basting occasionally and rotating the pan a few times.

4. Heat the oven up to 500 degrees. Cook the pork until the fat is a crispy freaking delicious dark brown, about 10 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes before pulling away hunks to serve.

Now, on to the dipping sauces...


8 garlic cloves
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup fresh lime juice (OR a total of 2/3 cup fresh sour orange juice if you can find sour oranges)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Purée all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Or, if you're feeling fancy and rustic, use a mortar and pestle to grind the garlic and salt into a paste, then whisk in the remaining ingredients.


1 cup packed fresh parsley
5 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Purée first 6 ingredients together in a blender or food processor. Suite the vinegar amount to your taste. Stir in red pepper flakes. Done, easy!
There are a million things you could serve this with to make a full meal. Plantains, collards, yuca, oh man I'm getting hungry. Gotta stop.

This was originally posted at my blog, the crankin' kitchen!

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