This Cuban Roast Pork Recipe is my childhood on a plate!
Credit needs to be given to my mom for this recipe, or at least the basics of it. Never has she ever measured a thing when it comes to cooking, but every time she made this, it was incredible.
This Cuban Roasted Pork was served mostly on Christmas eve next to the turkey and accompanied by black beans, wild rice, yuca con mojo and a salad. It was the perfect example of a cultural melting pot; mostly cuban food, a bit of American, all served in Costa Rica. Oh, and all enjoyed by my huge family.
This recipe requires feel. Not just for the seasoning but for the baking times. Sometimes I have more time than others so sometimes I bake this pork for 6-7 hours on a low 325 degree oven and sometimes I’m short on time and I need to be speed it up so I start the cooking at 350 or even use an Instant Pot to get it going. The one thing to know about this pork is that you truly can not screw it up. What you’re looking for is for it to be fork tender. I mean like, fall off the bone soft pork that requires minimum effort to shred. Once its shredded, this pork will absorb all the juices it was cooked in. It is heavenly.
After having made this so many times, I finally have the the timing down pat, so follow the guidelines and I promise you fork tender juicy pulled pork.
The flavor will blow your mind. It’s a bit sweet and a bit salty. It can also be transformed into many different versions of itself. For instance, if you add bbq sauce to make pulled pork sandwiches, it will welcome the sauce with open arms. If you pan fry it to make it crustier it will golden up so beautifully. Or, you can leave as is and serve on tostadas, or with rice and beans.
Other ways you can serve this pork:
- placed in tacos
- filling quesadillas
- on cuban sandwiches
- in breakfast hash
- stuffing empanadas
- in an omelet
Detailed instructions on how I make this Cuban Roasted Pork:
In a blender, blend the onion, bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, orange juice, Coca-Cola, and plenty of salt and pepper.
Blend until the mixture is smooth and there are no huge chunks of peppers or onions.
Tip! I like to cut the peppers and onions into larger chunks to help the blender do a better job.
Place the pork in a deep roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper on both side. Be generous, this is a big piece of meat.
Pour blended onion mixture all over the pork. Cover tightly with plenty of aluminum foil. Make sure there are no slits where the steam can escape.
Tip! I use at least 3 sheets of aluminum foil to make sure it is thick and secure.
Bake in a 300° oven for 4 hours. Do not peak or remove the aluminum foil. Let the pork enjoy its time in the oven.
After the 4 hours are done, raise the temperature to 325° for one hour.
Again, raise the temperature to 375° and bake for 35 minutes.
Take out the pork. Remove the aluminum foil and uncover.
Tip! BE CAREFUL removing the foil as the steam will be quite aggressive.
At this point it will be tender and falling off the bone. Shred the entire pork and, discard the bone and any large fat clumps.
When the pork is all shredded, it will be “swimming” in all the pan juices.
Raise temperature to 375° and continue baking uncovered for 35 minutes.
Tip! I like to start browning it, then turn off the oven and I just let it sit there until it is time to serve it. It gives the pork time to sit and absorb all those pan juices beautifully.
COOKING TIME TIPS!
If you have the time, the longer the pork can cook in a low temperature, the better. After that is done hopefully 3-4 hours if you can spare, then raise the temperature. This is the absolute trick: after slow cooking it for as long as you can, rise the temperature 25° every 30 minutes. For example; let’s say you cooked it in 300-325° for only 3 hours. After those three hours, peak in and see how far the pork has come along. If its super hard, try to cut parts of it in smaller parts. This will help it get tender quicker. Then cover again and raise the temperature 25° degrees at a time for as long as you have time to do. Once you see it’s tender, you can shred and finish baking uncovered. Just keep in mind, the shredding has to be EASY. If its hard to shred, it is not ready!
I definitely recommend planning ahead and cooking this with the recommended times in the recipe. It does take time but the good thing is you don’t need to be on top of it. You can put in the oven and get so much done while the pork cooks slowly. The best part?? Your home will smell amazing!!
- Roasting pan
- 1 5-6lb Bone-in pork picnic (shoulder)
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1 medium red bell pepper
- 8 large garlic cloves
- 3/4 cup orange juice pulp free
- 1 cup Coca-Cola
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- In a blender, blend the onion, bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, orange juice, Coca-Cola, and plenty of salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
- Place the pork in a deep roasting pan. Pour blended mixture all over the pork.
- Cover tightly with plenty of aluminum foil. I use at least 3 sheets of aluminum foil.
- Bake in a 300 degree oven for 4 hours.
- After the four hours are through, raise the temperature to 325 for one hour.
- After the hour has passed, raise temperature once more, this time to 375 and continue baking for 35 minutes.
- Uncover, and using two forks, shred the entire pork shoulder, it will be falling off the bone at this point.
- Remove the bone and any large fat clusters.
- Make sure the pork is well submerged in all the juices.
- Bake uncovered at 375° for 20-30 more minutes or until the pork is browning.