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Lechon Asado con Mojo (Cuban Grilled Pork with Mojo)

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Serves 10

  • Make the menu:
    BBQ Cuban Style
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 135

This is the garlicky and grand centerpiece of the Cuban celebration. The pork needs at least 8 hours to marinate in the mojo and about that long to cook, but the results—unbelievably tender meat and crisp, crackly skin—are worth the wait.

For the mojo
  • 50 peeled cloves garlic
  • 5/8 oz. kosher salt (1-1/2 Tbs. Diamond Crystal or 1 Tbs. Morton)
  • 1 Tbs. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. fresh orange juice (from 1 medium)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large)
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice (from 1 small)
For the pork
  • 1 6- to 8-lb. bone-in, skin-on pork shoulder
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1-1/2 lemons)
  • 3 large lemons, cut into wedges
  • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
Make the mojo

Combine the garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl and whisk in the juices. Reserve 1/2 cup of the mojo and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Marinate and grill the pork

Use a paring knife to make 20 deep slits all over the pork. Using your fingers, push the remaining mojo into the slits. Wrap the pork well in plastic wrap, place skin side up on a rimmed baking sheet or platter, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Let the pork sit at room temperature for 1 hour before cooking. Meanwhile, set up a charcoal or gas grill for indirect cooking between 325°F and 350°F; if using a charcoal grill, bank the lit, ashed-over coals to one side of the grill. Cover the grill, and adjust the vents as needed to reach the temperature range. For a gas grill, cover the grill, turn off one or more of the burners, and adjust the active burner(s) to reach the temperature range.

Pat the pork skin dry with paper towels. Put the pork, skin side up, on the cooler part of the grill and cook, rotating (but not flipping) every couple of hours, until the skin is crisp and an instant-read thermometer registers 190°F to 200°F in the center of the pork, 6 to 8 hours.

Toward the end of the pork’s cooking, combine the reserved 1/2 cup mojo, the onion, olive oil, and lemon juice in a 2-quart saucepan. Cook, stirring often, over medium-low heat, until the onion softens and the flavors meld, about 8 minutes. (The mojo can sit at room temperature for a few hours.)

Serve the pork

Transfer the pork to a cutting board. Remove the skin. Tent just the pork with foil and let sit for up to an hour before serving. Scrape off and discard the soft fat underneath the skin, then cut the crispy part (the crackling) into bite-size pieces. Transfer to a small platter, add a few lemon wedges, and serve the chicharrones (cracklings) as an appetizer.

Meanwhile, use your hands to break the meat into chunks and transfer to a large bowl. Pour about 1/3 cup of the mojo over it and toss to coat. Transfer to a large platter along with the remaining lemon wedges. Sprinkle with the sea salt and serve, passing the remaining mojo around the table with it.

Make Ahead Tips

Once prepared with the mojo, the pork can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before grilling.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 430, Fat (kcal): 29, Fat Calories (g): 260, Saturated Fat (g): 7, Protein (g): 32, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 17, Carbohydrates (mg): 10, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 3, Sodium (g): 1400, Cholesterol (g): 110, Fiber (g): 1,

Photo: Gabriella Herman

We have made this about 6 times. This may be the best pork roast I've ever had. Do not change a thing! The Mojo is so good, make double!

I've made this twice for a crowd and both were delicious and much complimented. My pork did not have skin but a lot of fat. We still had a nice bit of crispy bits to fight over. I love and use fresh garlic but for this recipe used a 4 oz jar of minced garlic and stirred the ingredients instead of blending. Try the avocado and pineapple salad recipe. Everyone loves that as well. Serve with blacks beans and rice and fried plantains.

I made this for Mother's Day and it was a huge success! It may take a while to prepare but worth it!

So good! Absolutely delicious and so easy. Rave reviews from everyone I served it to. Will be making this for years to come. Did it in the oven for 8 hours at 325.

Absolutely loved this dish. The mojo really makes it!

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