Lechon Asado (Cuban Roast Pork)

Mojo-marinated, slow-roasted pork shoulder with sour orange juice, cumin, oregano and fresh peppers, served with black beans and saffron rice..

Lechon Asado (Cuban Roast Pork)
Lechón Asado (Cuban Roast Pork)

For the Mojo (Cuban Marinade, Three Guys from Miami)

8-10 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon oregano
1 cup sour orange juice, or 1/2 cup orange juice plus 1/4 cup each fresh lemon and lime juice

Use a large mortar and pestle to mash all the ingredients (except orange juice) into a paste.  Transfer paste to a bowl and combine with the orange juice.  Allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

For the Pork

Marinate the pork in the mojo for 4 hours (refrigerated).  Remove the pork from the marinade and pat dry.  Heat some fat in a Dutch oven set over medium heat, then brown the pork well on all sides.  Transfer the pork to a plate and pour off all but a tablespoon or two of fat from the Dutch oven.

Toast a tablespoon of whole cumin seeds in the Dutch oven, then add a cup of chopped red onion, 3 minced garlic cloves and 1/3 cup of Cubanelle, bell and/or jalapeño  peppers and sauté until softened and fragrant.

Nestle the pork shoulder (fat side up) in the vegetables, then pour in 1 cup of chicken stock and the marinade.  Add some wedges of lemon and lime and a palm-full of chopped fresh oregano. Cover and cook in a 200 degree oven until fork tender, about 3-4 hours depending on the size of the roast.

Remove from the oven, uncover and let stand 20 minutes.

For the Rice

Cook long-grain aged basmati in chicken stock until tender, adding water-soaked saffron during the last few minutes of cooking.  Season to taste with salt & pepper and garnished with chopped parsley.

For the Beans

Soak black beans overnight in filtered water before preparing in the usual fashion.  Stir in some of the vegetables from the Dutch oven during the last 15 minutes of cooking.

To Serve

Spoon rice onto a serving plate then top with beans.  Use 2 forks to pull the pork into chunks and place alongside the rice and beans.  Spoon some of the vegetables and pan juices over the pork and serve immediately.

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This post is part of the Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays!

28 thoughts on “Lechon Asado (Cuban Roast Pork)

  1. Ren – I am truly impressed with the quality of your blog… the food, photos, information, tone & content of the text… amazing. Casey B.

  2. I’ve been keeping an eye out for pork recipes for the pigs that will be butchered once we get COLD day time temps for hanging the carcasses!
    Thanks……this one will be added to my list.

  3. I went to 4 stores (Whole Foods and 3 others) to find Pork shoulder. They had none! When the weather turns chilly I really love a slow-cooked pork shoulder and this looks wonderful!
    Just got a huge order from my farmer of pasture-raised pork. But the sampler packs had no shoulder. Looks like shoulder is out of style. I wonder what’s up, are they just turning it into sausage?

      1. At your grocer, look for a boston butt. Although called a butt, it is a portion of the pig’s shoulder (with blade bone). A full shoulder is usually 15 pounds or more, while a butt is 6 to 8. The pictures above appear to be a boston butt.

  4. I’ve never had any problems finding pork shoulder roasts in any mainstream market.
    this recipe looks wonderful and you can bet I’ll be trying it next week. I put pork shoulder on the shopping list. my wife is a fool for anything pork, as am I.

  5. Ren,

    This is a great recipe – I love Cuban food!

    I made it this weekend and included plantains fried in
    coconut oil.

    Enjoying your blog.

    Brenda

  6. Made this tonight, it was excellent! I spent three months in Miami last year and this reminded me of all the great food there!

    I made more marinade than the recipe specified (almost 1/4 cup dried oregano, 1 and a half cups of sour orange juice) and I braised it for 4 hours in a 300-degree oven. Also served with plantains.

    The secret to this is the sour orange juice. I found mine in a local Latin market, but some supermarkets carry it too. For some reason, the OJ/lime combo doesn’t quite have the same taste to me.

    1. Plantains are a great, traditional accompaniment! You’re right about the sour orange too, oj+lemon+lime is second best.

      Thanks, Jessica!

    1. Oh, 3-1/2 pounds perhaps. Fortunately, the exact weight doesn’t matter- just adjust the cooking time accordingly (about 30 minutes/pound).

  7. this is by far the best looking recipe I’ve seen on the web – truly impressive. I’d already decided on this for Sunday’s guest dinner but your version has me convinced to include the beans and rice – Thnx

  8. Married to a Cuban, this will be my first lechon asado. Make many other Cuban recipes. Marinade matches most traditional cook books. Just finished browning in my le creuset and now in the oven, house smells yummy!

    Will be accompanying w avocado salad and my black beans & rice. Great pics and easy instructions. Thank for the help!

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