Cuban-Style Roast Pork
Cuban style roasted pork is the primary ingredient of a Cubano sandwich, and that's what I had to make first. There are many recipes in the internet, but most are quite similar. I used one from Emerile Lagasse - whom nobody would accuse of being Cuban - because I've had great luck with Emerile's recipes before and because it had the easiest cooking instructions - basically put it in the oven and let it cook for hours.
Traditionally, a lechó asado is a whole pig cooked on a spit. You can substitute an uncooked ham for it, but pork shoulder can be easier and cheaper to find - that's what I used. You can cook it on a smoker or grill, but I haven't cleaned either for the season, and it's been unseasonably cool here in California, so I chose a recipe for oven-roasted pig.
It was quite good, even though I used bottled orange juice and lime juice. I don't remember if I used the olive oil, and that's why I said it was optional, but given how fatty the pork is, I'm not sure it's needed.
Cuban-Style Roast Pork
- 1 yellow onion, chopped, divided
- 1/3 cup garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 6 lbs bone-in pork shoulder roast
- 2/3 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup lime juice
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 2/3 cup olive oil (optional)
Using a food processor, electric blender or mortal and pestle, puree half the chopped onion, the garlic cloves, salt, oregano and pepper together. Set aside.
Pat dry the roast. If it has a thick layer of fat, trim it down. Score the roast all over. Spread the onion mixture all over the roast, pushing it down the cuts in the meat. Transfer the roast to a large resealable plastic bag. Add the rest of the onion, the juices and the olive oil, if using, to the bag, seal and turn the bag over several times to make sure the marinade spreads all over the pork. Refrigerate overnight, occasionally turning the bag.
Remove bag from the fridge and rest at room temperature for one hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the pork shoulder from the bag and transfer to a dutch oven or a roasting pan. Cover with lid or with aluminum foil. Place in the oven and roast for 4 hours. Remove the lid and continue cooking until golden brown, if needed. Slice or shred the meat.
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse's recipe at Emeril.com
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