This Cuban pulled pork recipe is a family favorite. Pork shoulder slow roasted in the oven with garlic and orange juice until it is fall-apart tender.
Serve this flavorful pulled pork with rice and beans, or black bean soup.
Drizzle the Cuban pulled pork with a bit of mojo for extra flavor before serving. This pork recipe is perfect for family dinner or game day with friends.
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Cuban pulled pork recipe with orange and garlic
This slow roasted pork recipe has tons of flavor. That is the name of the game with recipes like this. It’s all about building layers of flavor.
The mojo (pronounced MOH – ho) is just one of the building blocks. You can marinade the pork in this mixture for a few hours, up to overnight, or you can simply pour it over the roast and slide it in the oven.
The orange and garlic complement the pork nicely, and the sugar in the orange juice helps to form the gorgeous bark on the outside of the pork as it is roasting in the oven.
Let’s start with why this recipe works so well and what’s different about slow roasting in the oven vs using a slow cooker.
The first step is to form a crust. Not only does this provide flavor, it also gives the Cuban pulled pork some texture. We’ll build on this later in the recipe.
Pour the marinade over the pork and slide it into the oven. (You can marinade the pork beforehand, if you like. There are directions in the note section of the recipe.)
By searing the pork in a hot Dutch oven, then roasting it in the oven, the heat is coming from all sides.
After a couple of hours in the oven, take the lid off of the pork. By exposing the pork instead of leaving it covered, the outside has a chance to form a bark.
This gives the shredded pork a nice bit of texture. This is the biggest difference between slow roasting and slow cooking.
There is no way to form that crispy outside in a slow cooker. While pulled pork done in a Crock Pot is delicious, it does lack texture.
Yes! Sear the pork, then place in a slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours.
Yes. You can make your pork a day ahead of time and gently warm it in a low oven (covered) for 30 – 45 minutes, or until hot.
Yes, it can. Seal in a heavy freezer bag, or with a vacuum sealer. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Ingredients for mojo marinade
This simple marinade for Cuban pork can be whisked together in a bowl. No need to break out the blender here.
- Garlic – 6 cloves, because more is better.
- Ground cumin
- Black pepper
- Dried oregano
- Orange juice – I had some oranges in the fridge, so I juiced my own. If you have oranges of any variety that need to be used, this is perfect.
- Limes – juice a few limes, the pork needs the balance of the acidity.
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt – I use Diamond Crystal.
What to serve with Cuban pulled pork
This garlic and orange pulled pork is great on its own or in a sandwich. It is one of those great “make ahead” meals that you can cook the night before and then put in a crock pot to stay warm.
Obviously, you can go with rice and black beans. A side of maduros (fried sweet plantains) would also be perfect here.
Here a few options for side dishes to go with your pulled pork recipe:
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- 3 lbs. boneless pork shoulder / pork butt
- 2 tsp. black pepper
- 1 1/2 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 medium onions, halved
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 1/2 tbsp. dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- Preheat oven to 300°F / 150°C.
- In a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat.
- Season pork all over with half of the salt and pepper. Sear pork on all sides - this will take about 3 - 5 minutes per side to get a deep brown color.
- Add onions to the pot, along the sides of the pork.
- Combine remaining ingredients for mojo sauce in a small bowl and whisk together.
- Reserve 1/4 cup of marinade, set aside. Pour remaining marinade over pork, cover and slide into the oven.
- After 2 1/2 hours, uncover pork and baste with juices in pot. Roast for an additional 30 - 45 minutes, until a nice bark forms on the outside of pork.
- Remove pork from oven and let it cool for 10 - 15 minutes before shredding (either with two forks or with gloved hands).
- Pour remaining marinade over pork and serve.
OPTION FOR MARINADE:
Add pork, along with marinade to a zip-top bag and refrigerate for 2 - 24 hours. Remove from marinade, pat pork dry and proceed with recipe.
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Serving Size:6 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 528Total Fat: 61gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 35gCholesterol: 216mgSodium: 1111mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 57g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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Originally published 10/6/12. Most recent update 2/22/22.