Smoked Cuban Pulled Pork for Father's Day

Discussion in 'Pork' started by noboundaries, Jun 15, 2014.

  1. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Smoked Pork Cuban Style

    Okay, my apologies to anyone of Cuban culture.  I was looking at Latin-style pork recipes and came up with the following recipe.  The result was delicious.  The tangy Mojo Sauce gave the meat a great flavor and fantastic au jus.  It is different that typical pulled pork so if you're bored with standard fare, give this a try.  It isn't dramatically different, just noticeably so.

    Normally I inject shoulders while brining for pulled pork.  I liked this stabbing process.  It was easier and incorporated the brine deep into the meat.

    4-6 lb pork shoulder
    sprinkle oregano, cumin, black pepper

    Mojo Sauce (pronounced MoHo)
    2 cup Orange juice
    1 cup lemon juice
    1 cup lime juice
    1/2 cup  olive oil
    1 tsp salt
    1 large bay leaf
    2 tsp dried oregano
    2 tsp cumin powder
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    3 Tbs minced garlic (or 20 cloves fresh)
    2-3 Tbs salt (add after reserving one cup of blended sauce)

    Sauteed Finishing Vegetables
    1 large onions sliced in thin rounds
    1 red peppers, sliced
    1 cup reserved garlic and lime sauce mixture


    1. In a blender add the orange/lemon/lime juice, garlic, bay leaf, cumin powder, oregano, pepper, oil, and 1 teaspoon salt. Blend on high until liquified. Pour one cup of the mojo in a jar cover and reserve for later.  Now add 2-3 Tbs of the kosher salt to the blender and blend again until the salt is blended into the Mojo Sauce.

    2. Stab the uncooked pork shoulder deeply on all sides with a broad knife.  Stab it deep.

    3. Now take your pork roast, put it in a brining bag and pour the rest of the Mojo sauce all over the pork roast rubbing the mojo sauce deep into the pork meat in the slits or holes. The secret is to make sure you rub your pork meat roast with all this citrus/garlic sauce making sure it is well introduced into the meat. Remove all the air from the brining bag and zip tie it so the meat stays submerged in the sauce.  Brine overnight or longer.

    4. Next day fire up the smoker to 225°F to 250°F using a sweet wood for flavor like peach or apple.

    5. Remove the brined roast from the refrigerator and pour the brining marinade into a sauce pan.  Heat to a low boil and simmer for at least ten minutes for safety.  Remove from the heat and let cool.  You'll use this sauce for basting the roast and for wrapping.

    6. Sprinkle a little more oregano, cumin, salt and black pepper over the entire roast again but just a little sprinkle.

    7. Put the roast on the smoker and smoke until the first stall, usually around 150°F internal temp and roughly four hours.  While smoking baste it with about a half cup of the Mojo Sauce every hour to 90 minutes.  When it stalls wrap in a double layer of aluminum foil with a cup of the Mojo Sauce from the sauce pan.

    8. I typically open my vents slightly and let the smoker temp climb to 300°F-325°F while the meat is wrapped.  Smoke until an IT of 203°F-205°F.  Remove from smoker leaving it in the aluminum foil and put it in a hot box or wrap in towels on the kitchen counter.  Let rest for an hour or two.  Total smoke/cook time is about an hour/lb roughly.

    9. Just before serving pour cup of lightly salted reserved Mojo Sauce from the first blending into a frying pan with some oil.  Add the onion and pepper and saute them in the mixture for about 5-10 minutes until tender.

    10. Remove the roast from the foil, saving the liquids in the wrap.  Pull the pork apart and add the mojo onions to the meat, mixing well.  Or you can serve separately on tortillas.

    11. The meat is juicy right after being pulled.  Add a little of the wrap liquid to the pulled pork, but save the rest in a bowl and cool overnight in the refrigerator.  The next day scrape off the fat and add the gelatin back into the pulled pork for additional tangy flavor.

    Bag o' Stabbed Pork Shoulder and Mojo Marinade

    Stabbed and Marinated Ready to Sprinkle

    More Q-View coming.  Having issues uploading photos.
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sprinkled and ready to put on the WSM.

    Flash forward 7 hours (6 in the smoker, 1 hour on the counter) and the shoulder just fell apart while pulling it from the wrap.  Easily pulled with two forks.

    Sautéed onion and peppers along with fried plantains. 

    Juicy, smothered with veggies, then served with a black bean and corn salsa my wife threw together.

    I'm still smiling.
    tr00ter and leah elisheva like this.
  3. hillbillyrkstr

    hillbillyrkstr Master of the Pit Group Lead


    I'm not Cuban, or Latin, so I'm not sure if that's an authentic recipe, but it's looks fantastic! Fine job bro. Great Qview!
  4. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks great!

    Love making mojo pork and Cuban sandwiches!
  5. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Man that looks great.
  6. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks all!

    The original recipes I looked up called for "sour oranges," something that isn't available where I live.  By doing further checking one website recommended 2 parts orange juice to one part lemon juice and one part lime juice.  Whooooeeeeeey, that was one tangy brine!

    I thought the "stabbing" process might cause issues with the integrity of the roast while smoking or wrapping, but it was no problem at all.

    There was no sauce needed on this shoulder because the flavorful au jus was better than a sauce!
  7. ycastane

    ycastane Smoke Blower

    That definitely looks good!!! I'm Cuban born and raised and let me tell you, it's about right! To bad you can't get sour or bitter oranges where you are because it taste slightly different and it is what is used in original recipes but the route you went also works great. Cumin and garlic are both the staple on that recipe, might want to try adding some culantro or cilantro also the next time and see if you like it, we cook with cilantro or in Cuba is actually what you call here culantro which it's a bit stronger and the leave is dark green and long.

    Also try doing some tostones, which is double fried smashed green plantains, they are crunchy and awesome ;). If you like fried sweet plantains, wait for the plantain to get really ripe, strong yellow color and slightly soft on the inside and fry those babies up!!! They are sweet but man are they good, I think the ones you fried were in between, not green but not ripe enough to make maduros which is what I just mentioned ;)

    Definitely came out great bud! Great job!!
    tr00ter likes this.
  8. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks ycastane! I will definitely try adding cilantro next time. I'd never fried plantains before but my wife and I both loved them. Slippery little suckers once you start slicing on them.

    I was actually going to make a mashed fried plantain and/or banana recipe but ran out of time. I will definitely look up a tostones recipe next time. Thanks for the suggestions!!!
  9. iashane

    iashane Fire Starter

    That looks amazing. I'm so hungry right now..

    I'm subbing to this one for future reference. Thanks for the step by step.
  10. ycastane

    ycastane Smoke Blower

    For the mash, i have never tried banana mash, probably will be to sweet but who knows might be good. As far as mash made from plantains there are 2 kinds as far as cubans go.
    1- Green plantains boiled and mashed which will have a greyish color and you will have to add some garlic and manteca de puerco (pork fat) so it comes out good (in cuba everything is cooked with pork fat/lard) people barely use oil.
    2- Ripe plantains boiled and mashed which will have a yellow color, this is my favorite one and again you can add a little manteca con ajo (pork lard with garlic) deliciousness!!! LOL.

    Tostones is very very easy to make;
    1- Buy green plantains, no yellowish or any other color plantains.
    2- Peel the plantains and cut into chunks of about 2" long
    3- Fry until they are half way cooked, they turn to a pale color, slightly cooked and hard on the outside like a crust and still partially uncooked on the inside.
    4- Press them with either a (toston press/wooden press made for that) or anything with a flat bottom to about 1/4" to 1/2"
    5- Deep fry again until they are nice and golden in color.
    6- Sprinkle with some salt and enjoy! You can also eat them with the mojo you made for the pork, just dip them or put some on top!
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
  11. ycastane

    ycastane Smoke Blower

    These are the tostones so you have an idea of what they look like.
    These are maduros, kind of what you did but in your case the plantains you had were in between a ripe and a green plantain, what we call pinton. These you can cut either like it shows it here or at a 45 degree angle about half an inch thick, I prefer it that way (my mom always makes that way but I guess either works)
  12. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Really, REALLY, Awesome post, I have been wanting to try this for a while after a co worker made it and loved it, basically the same ingredients as yours.

    Now with the step by step you provided I have no excuse not to make it this weekend, just called my daughter at home to pull a pork butt from the freezer, 10 lb

    I'll half it and do a Cuban and my Porchetta - Italian Market Place Pulled Pork.

    Thanks for the motivation!!
  13. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Tostones, maduros, I'm making them both! Thanks for sharing your culture with us ycastane! Those both look fantastic!!
  14. ycastane

    ycastane Smoke Blower

    My pleasure bud!!
  15. Wow, that must have been spectacular! Such warmth going into the food - you can tell! 

    Fantastic job!

    Cheers!!!! - Leah
  16. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    SQWIB, I just found your Porchetta Recipe!  Oh, I am SOOOOOO making that.  Thanks!
  17. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
  18. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks BW. When I was looking for Latin recipes I only found oven recipes or LA Caja China roaster recipes, basically an above ground pig pit. I knew how to make pulled pork on the smoker so I just adapted all the parts of recipes I could to my regular pulled pork process. That's why I apologized to all the great Cuban folks but the spirit and essence was still there.

    BTW, not once did I add sauce to the leftovers, just the gelatin. Man oh man that was good.
  19. Thanks Noboundaries for the thread and Ycastane for your authentic input suggestions and ideas.I've been looking for something diifferent for pulled pork:I love it but have been eating traditional style all my life,time for a little variety.You have given me inspiration,and another proof that this forum is great. I love learning of other cultures and their different spins on foods.[​IMG]
  20. Thanks 

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