Mojo Marinated Pork Cubano (Lechon Asado) Recipe
What to buy: Dried chile molido can be found at most spice stores. A good source is Penzeys.
Scotch bonnet peppers are available at specialty produce stores or gourmet grocery stores. They’re also among the hottest of hot peppers; wear gloves when slicing them.
For the spice rub:
- 2 tablespoons whole cumin
- 1 1/2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon whole coriander
- 2 tablespoons dried chile molido
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 5 pounds boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt)
For the mojo:
- 1/2 cup garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup cumin, freshly toasted and ground
- 1/2 cup coriander, freshly toasted and ground
- 2 tablespoons jalapeño peppers, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon Scotch bonnet peppers, finely chopped
- 4 cups canola or vegetable oil
- 7 cups orange juice
- 1 1/2 cups cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup sherry vinegar
- In a dry sauté pan, toast cumin, peppercorns, and coriander over medium heat for a few minutes until spices just start to smoke. Remove spices immediately from the pan.
- Grind smoked spices in a spice or coffee grinder. Mix together with remaining ingredients (except pork).
- Trim any excess fat off the pork, discard the fat, and cut pork into six pieces. Liberally massage all of the spice rub into pork pieces. Place pork in a large resealable plastic bag or in a glass dish. Cover and leave in the refrigerator 24 hours.
- On the second day, make the mojo.
For the mojo:
- Combine garlic, cumin, coriander, jalapeños, and Scotch bonnet peppers in a stainless steel bowl.
- In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, heat oil until hot (approximately 175°F). Pour warm oil over spice mixture and let cool to room temperature.
- Simmer 2 cups of the orange juice in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until it is reduced to 1/2 cup. Cool to room temperature.
- Combine oil-and-spice mixture, reduced orange juice, remaining 5 cups orange juice, cilantro, and sherry vinegar in a blender and blend until smooth (do this in batches). Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Add 4 cups of the mojo to pork, cover, and marinate another 24 hours.
- On the third day, preheat oven to 300°F and arrange the rack at the bottom. Place pork in a large baking dish or in a large, heavy pot with a tightfitting lid, and add remaining mojo and enough water to cover pork in liquid. Cover with foil or a tightfitting lid and place in the oven.
- Cook until pork is fork tender, about 4 to 5 hours. (Check pork periodically and add a little water if the liquid is reducing too quickly.) Serve.
Beverage pairing: 2005 Emrich-Schönleber Monzinger Frülingsplätzchen Kabinett, Germany. Don’t even bother trying to pronounce the name of this wine from Germany’s Nahe region, just know that Riesling is a great match with both pork and spicy foods, making it a natural for this dish. Furthermore, the smokiness of the spices is emulated by a hint of flinty slate in this light, punchy, and refreshing white wine.