Recipe: Lechon Asado

Recipe: Lechon Asado (Cuban Pork Shoulder)

Cuban food, just like its people is beautiful and resourceful. My dear friend Esperanza (which literally translates to Hope, how poetic), who is a native cuban, would tell stories about the island. When the ration book gave you tough pork, you had to use ingenuity to make it palatable. She taught me to marinate the pork shoulder with the classic Mojo marinade, a mixture of flavors borrowed from Spanish, African and French cuisine.

Garlic, citrus and spices come together to make the perfect balance of flavors that everyone will love. This recipe is simple to prepare, but it requires patience. Trust me, you will not regret it.

Preparation is about 20 minutes, but you'll have to plan ahead to savor this roast. You will need to marinate the pork shoulder overnight, and then cook it for about 10 hours. 


 That's a big hunk of meat!

That's a big hunk of meat!

 Try not to drink this liquid gold!

Try not to drink this liquid gold!

 End product, skin separated from pork

End product, skin separated from pork

 The diamond cuts will help you serve the pork skin.

The diamond cuts will help you serve the pork skin.

 Bye bye extra moisture.

Bye bye extra moisture.

 Naked Butt!

Naked Butt!

 Dressed butt.

Dressed butt.

 Ready to broil.

Ready to broil.

Ingredients:

8 - 10lbs  Bone-in Pork Butt (pork shoulder, picnic roast etc.)

For the Marinade:

1 clove of garlic per every pound of pork

¼ cup of olive oil

¼ of a cup of lime and orange juice (50:50)*

½ oz of vinegar

1 pinch of cumin

10 grinds of coarse black pepper

1 tablespoon of Himalayan salt

*The original recipe calls for bitter orange juice, but bitter oranges are hard to find

After mixing the marinade, you have to prepare the pork butt. Separate the skin from the pork butt using a very sharp knife. This is the most important part of the process, since it will help you get a crispy pork rind. 

Cover the pork butt with Mojo marinade, set in a glass container with lid and let marinate overnight in the fridge.

Now you have to prepare the skin. 

Make diamond cuts over the skin, this will make it easier to serve once the pork roast is ready. 

Add some salt to both sides of the skin and roll it in paper towels. You have to  leave it uncovered in the fridge. This step is not super necessary, but it will help draw out the moisture from the skin. (Translation: super crispy pork skin!)

The next day you are ready to roast. Set your pork butt that has been infused with the Mojo marinade on your roaster and put the skin back on.

After 10 hours, the meat was falling off the bone, and the roast was ready to broil. 

I set the oven to low broil and my timer for one minute. BE CAREFUL, the skin is super oily and it will burn. After one minute I rotate the pan clockwise to get an even crisp on the skin. 

Once again, do not leave unattended, I've burnt the skin before. ROTATE THE PAN EVERY MINUTE.

Esperanza tells me to let it rest for about 30 minutes before cutting into it. I've never been able to wait.