Ever since we picked up our half-pig from the butcher, I’ve been wanting to make Cuban grilled pork. This urge was heightened by the pork sandwiches we bought at Paseo to take to a Zootunes concert – savory, rich, and so thoroughly sopping with dressing we went through a vast pile of napkins and still needed to pour water over each other’s hands afterwards. Given that we don’t live around the corner from Paseo, it seemed that we needed to be able to recreate the phenomenon ourselves.
We had one pork roast in our freezer labeled “shoulder”, apparently the closest we were likely to get to the recommended Boston Butt. We thawed it out and put it in a bag with a marinade (recipe below) composed of juice, garlic, herbs, zest and oil. The next day Jon tore himself away from his garage-painting project early enough to start the grill and get the pork going. He piled hot coals on either side of a metal roasting pan, put the grates in, then positioned the pork over the pan and closed the lid. We left it more or less alone for two hours, checking occasionally that the temperature was staying between 300-325°. At one point it dropped a bit and Jon added a few more live coals. When the pork seemed sufficiently blackened and fragrant, we took it out and tented it with foil to rest.
To go alongside, I made a coleslaw with a sweet little cabbage from our friends Katharine and Erik at Well Fed Farms, plus some grated carrot and pickled jalapeño. Then I took the leftover marinade from the pork and boiled it down a little to make a mojo sauce. The bright orange and lime flavors, heavy with garlic, were wonderful even after cooking. I meant to add fresh cilantro, but forgot.
For dinner, we sliced up the pork, topped it with the sauce, and ate it with coleslaw and cherry tomatoes. With the leftovers, of course, we made sandwiches, with lots of mayo and jalapeños and fresh tomatoes. How could we not?
Marinade for Grill-Roasted Cuban Pork Shoulder
- 1/4 cup Triple Sec
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 Tbsp grated lime zest
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
Combine all ingredients. Put a pork shoulder roast into a zip-lock bag or container and pour the marinade over. Refrigerate overnight or up to two days before grilling or roasting.