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This mojo pork is dripping with fantastically fresh Caribbean flavors and a beautiful caramelized crust that you won’t be able to get enough of! It’s made by marinating the pork in a bath of garlic, citrus, cilantro, mint, jalapeño, oregano, cumin overnight and the next day just popping it on the oven to roast low and slow for a few hours. The emerging mojo Cuban roast pork is mouthwateringly tender with subtle notes of bright, zesty, tangy, herby, garlicky, peppery flavor all at the same time. The mojo marinade is quick and easy to whip up in your food processor and can even be prepped a day ahead. This mojo pork also makes the best Cubano Sandwiches! (recipe coming next!) or it can be used in tacos, nachos, rice bowls, etc. The leftovers also freeze great – should you be so lucky.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8 -10


  • 4-6 pounds Boston Butt or pork shoulder (preferably bone in) trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil

Mojo Marinade

  • 1 yellow onion peeled, roughly chopped
  • 12 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed mint
  • 2-4 jalapenos seeded and deveined
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh oregano or 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke optional


  • Add the onion, garlic, cilantro, mint, jalapenos and fresh oregano (if using) to your food processor and pulse until very finely chopped, scraping the sides down as needed. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in all remaining mojo marinade ingredients.
  • Remove 1 1/2 cups of the marinade and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator (to serve with roasted pork).
  • Transfer the rest of the marinade to a freezer bag and add the pork; turn to coat, squeeze out excess air and seal. Marinate the pork in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours (no longer!), turning the bag occasionally.
  • When ready to cook, remove the pork from the refrigerator and let rest on the counter for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a large cast iron skillet. Wipe excess marinade off pork, then sear on all sides until browned.
  • Place the pork on a rack in a roasting dish (or use halved onions to prop up if you don’t have one) with 1 cup of water in the bottom. Spoon some of the marinade from the bag over the top of the pork. Cover the pork with foil, slightly tenting in the middle so it is not touching the pork.
  • Bake at 425 F for 30 minutes then reduce the temperature to 325 F and continue to roast for an additional 3 hours, adding additional water as needed so the water doesn’t dry up. Only check the water once an hour but don't stress it, it’s not the end of the world if you need to leave and it dries up.
  • After 3 hours, remove the foil and baste the pork with the water/drippings in the bottom of the pan. Roast for an additional 30 minutes. The meat should very tender; about 180-190 F on an instant read thermometer, without touching the bone. (Although this pork does not require a meat thermometer because it will be cooked beyond overdone until tender.) If it's not tender, cook for an additional 30 minutes as needed.
  • At this point, you can turn your oven to broil (without moving the pork) for a more caramelized exterior if desired; broil for 5-10 minutes, keeping an eye on it so it doesn’t burn.
  • Transfer the pork to a cutting board and loosely tent with foil. Rest for 20 minutes before carving.
  • Meanwhile, transfer the 1 1/2 cups reserved UNUSED mojo sauce to a saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally, or until reduced by half. Stir in a couple tablespoons of drippings if desired for more succulent flavor. Slice the pork and brush with some of the mojo. Serve remaining mojo on the side.


Tips and Tricks

  • Pork: Mojo Cuban roast pork can be made with either a 4-6-pound pork shoulder or Boston butt. Both come from the shoulder of the pig and not the rear.  If you have a choice between Boston pork butt and pork shoulder, choose pork butt.  It has more fat marbling throughout the meat so it emerges more tender. You may also use boneless if that’s all you can find.
  • Fat cap: Boston butts have a fat cap, a layer of hard white fat that sits on top of the meat, sometimes as much has an inch thick.  I recommend trimming all of it except 1/8-inch.  The thin layer of remaining fat will create a self-basting effect as it breaks down and drips over the meat, resulting in extra juicy and extra flavorful pork, with little surface fat remaining after roasting.
  • Temperature: Pork shoulder should be cooked to 180-190 degrees F for carvable tender, 205 degrees F for shreddable tender.  This is far past the 145 degrees for safe consumption.  You don’t need to worry about overcooking the pork except it will simply change from carvable tender to shreddable tender.
  • Serving suggestions: See the post for serving side ideas and tons of ways to serve mojo pork.

HOW TO STORE and reheat

  • Storage: Leftover lechon asado should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last up to 4 days.
  • Reheat: Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave with some reserved mojo at 30 second intervals (it warms quickly!); or warm leftovers in a skillet with a drizzle of oil over medium-low heat with some reserved mojo until warmed through.
  • Freeze:  Freeze mojo marinade for up to 3 months.  Freeze pork for up to 3 months and thaw in the refrigerator before serving.