A delicious marinated pork shoulder, packed with flavours cooked on low for hours and you get this Cuban-style oven roast: puerco asado. Expect it to fall apart as you cut it because it is so moist and tender.
This recipe is an all-time favorite and is regularly on the menu. Just a marinade to prepare the day before and bath your pork shoulder overnight in it. The next day, the meat is cooked low in the oven for a few hours.
Since Hubby is Cuban, I got to discover so many Cuban dishes and I have shared a few here. How about a Cuban dessert with pantry items? Yes, Cuban flan is the answer. We also love garbanzos fritos and picadillo, easy dishes to prepare on a weekday.
What Is Puerco Asado?
Puerco Asado in English means pork roast.
Puerco Asado is a dish present in many Latino recipe repertoires such as Mexican, Dominican but also Cuban. Like every dish, everyone (or country) has their own version, this is one is ours and it will be yours too! You may have heard of pernil or lechon asado which are similar dishes but different meat cut.
This Cuban pork roast is a pork shoulder slowly cooked skin-on and bone-in. The marinade is mojo sauce with mainly citrus and garlicky but also some cilantro and a few spices. Cuban mojo can be used also on chicken, shrimp, and of course pork.
How To Make Puerco Asado?
The 2 main steps of preparing Puerco Asado are making the marinade or mojo and cooking it. That's is all there is to it. The prep time is minimal.
The mojo is citrus and garlicky marinade. There is some orange and fresh lime juice, parsley, olive oil, garlic, some cumin, and oregano. Of course, don't forget some salt.
Side note: I prefer to juice myself the orange or lime, some store-bought orange juice may have added sugar.
Blend everything, pour it over your meat and let it rest for at least 6 to 8 hours. Ideally, you want to do this a day ahead and marinate your meat a good 12 hours, a maximum of 18. You don't want your meat to become mushy either.
The longer the meat is bathed in the Cuban mojo, the more it will break down the meat. This is perfect when you will cook it, it will be like pulled pork.
Cooking: Over 3 hours on a low oven, the meat cooks slowly with all the flavours. I use my cast iron dutch oven and lid off. You will obtain a moist delicious and tasty pork.
I tried the recipe with the lid on, the pork shoulder cooks nicely and the meat falls off the bone as well but the meat does not brown and crisp the same. Lid off is my choice.
What Is The Best Cut For The Cuban Style Pork Roast?
A pork shoulder is a great cut for this recipe. Bone-in and all the fat on, this is what gives more flavour. You'll get a juicy and tender meat with all the bold fragrance of the marinade.
Bone-in is the way to go to prevent the meat from drying and keeping all the flavours in. It also happens to be cheaper.
A boneless pork shoulder will work too. A pork leg could do it for this Cuban style roasted pork recipe although the Dominican would call it pernil or pernil de cerdo. There are several Latino variations to this slow-cooked pork recipe.
What To Serve With Cuban Pork Roast?
Whether you are hosting a get-together or a family dinner, feel free to present your pork already cut.
Often served for a family celebration, parties, or Christmas, Puerco Asado is served with Cuban rice, plantains, some salad, and my favorite, some yucca.
Some easy side dishes to accompany your Cuban-style pork roast:
- Roasted carrots and potatoes with garlic and lemon
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Chili Lime Rice from Hint of Healthy
- Mexican Cabbage Slaw from Flavor Mosaic
If you are feeling the Cuban atmosphere and want to make more recipes, try these:
- Garbanzos fritos
- Picadillo and use up the leftovers.
- Cuban Dulce de Leche
- Cuban Flan
Cuban Puerco Asado
- 1 cup cilantro washed, grossely chopped.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ cup orange juice
- ½ cup lime juice
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 3 to 4 pounds pork shoulder, bone in
The day before
- Place the pork shoulder in a shallow dish.
- In a blender, put all the marinade ingredients. Pulse until all the ingredients are pureed.
- Pour over the meat, evenly. Cover with a lid or food wrap.
- Refregirate for at least 6-8 hours or ideally overnight.
The next day
- Pre-heat the oven at 300F.
- Once your oven is at temperature, take your meat out of the marinage and place it in a cast iron without the lid.
- Cook for 3 and a half hours. if you have a meat thermometer, make sure it reaches 145F. In doubt, leave it another 20-30 minutes, it's slow and low, it won't dry.
Did you make it? Tag me on Instagram @bonappeteat.
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Alina Barrera says
This is sooooo good!!!
Thank you! You know it :)
Tara Noland says
This looks so good, love the spices and how moist and juicy it turned out.
Thank you so much! It is so moist and delicious!
Annette Toenjes says
Mine is in the oven as we speak! Hate to toss the marinade- did anyone save it for serving over top of plated meat? I guess it would need to come to a boil to be free of bacteria after sitting w/meat overnight?
Oh yeah! Let me know how you liked it! I know, it is a shame to discard it. In fact, you can bring it to a boil to kill any bacteria and use on the roast. I don't usually do it but it certainly an idea. :)
Now that I've seen this kind recipe, I wonder if there'd be a "super cheesy" recipe I could try. That would be interesting.
Puerco asado recipe...without mentioning it is best served next to yellow rice? Oh the shame of it all! :D
I kid. For those who can't get sour orange (what most Cubans will tell you to use for the orange component) Goya makes a surprisingly good mojo criollo you can find in most grocery stores. Use that mojo just like you would here and you're enjoying Cuban roast pork the next day!
That's true how could I not mention it? But I prefer with rice and beans ahah
Thank you for your suggestion! We do have Goya on hands at all time as it is quite flavourful like you said!
Thanks for stopping by!
Was wondering if I wanted to use the Goya bottled sauce, what would be the right proportion? Thank you!
Hi Penny, I guess you could, absolutely. It would depend on the size of your pork shoulder.
Maybe similar to the size for your recipe here - 3-4 pounds bone in?
Thank you for this recipe! I’m marinating the pork now and I’m going to slow cook it tomorrow in my kamado smoker. One question about the recipe: after removing the pork from the marinade you say to, “place it in a cast iron without the lid.” Are you placing it in a shallow 12” cast-iron skillet with low sides so the pork can brown well and develop a crust? Or are you placing it in a large cast-iron pot/casserole? I’m assuming you are referring to a cast-iron 5 quart or 7 quart casserole, otherwise you probably wouldn’t have mentioned the lid. Does it release a large quantity of juice as it cooks? Thank you!
Hello Elizabeth! That is correct, I use my 7.25 quartz Le Creuset and that's why I mentioned not using the lid. My almost 4-pound shoulder fits in it. How did you like your puerco asado?
Can you do the roast in the crockpot?
Absolutely, I do not own a crockpot though so I can't recommend the cooking time! Happy cooking!
Colleen Oliver says
I only had 4 hours to marinade the pork. It didn't get as tender as I had hoped. Next time I may cook covered for the first 2 hours. I decided to shred the meat, boiled and reduced by half the left over marinade to drizzle on tortillas with the meat, sour cream, and Mexican cheese. Delicious! Yellow rice was the perfect side. The intense flavor of the reduced marinade drizzled on top was fabulous! Thanks for this wonderful dish!
I'm glad you enjoyed it Colleen! Regarding the marinade, the longer the better as the citrus (the acidic) breaks down the meat and nerves and therefore makes it more tender when cooked.
Hi! The pork shoulder has that thick, brown skin on top, should that be removed before marinating and cooking it? Or do I have the wrong cut of pork shoulder?
You can remove the skin. If it is a thick layer of fat, I remove some and leave some as the fat gives some more flavor as it cooks.
Paul and Jaci says
Oh my oh my oh. my! Sooooo tasty, tender and delish. Thank you for this recipe. Cuban sandwiches tonight and soft pork tacos tomorrow in our house! Thank you again….
Your recipe says cilantro but your pictures show a bunch of parsley. Which one is it?