Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork (Lechon Asado)

A traditional Cuban roasted pork recipe that is very simple, yet packed with tons of flavor! There is nothing to this pork except an amazing marinade, but it is honestly some of the best meat I’ve ever put in my mouth. Just look at that crust!

Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork from The Food Charlatan

Today I was craving a snack, so naturally I grabbed a banana and the jar of Biscoff sitting in our cupboard. The banana-Biscoff dip is a habit I’ve been nursing for a while now, and I don’t think it’s heading out anytime soon.

Then I opened the jar and IT WAS EMPTY. Not even last-tiny-bit-scrape-able. This was no crap job, that jar was CLEAN. I’m the only one in the house with a Biscoff habit, so there is no question about culpability here. Past-Karen scraped that jar clean, and then she put it back in my cupboard. It’s like she’s trying to torture me. Oh, hi Future-Karen, you wanted a snack? TOO BAD.

Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork from The Food Charlatan

Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork from The Food Charlatan

Have you guys seen the movie Chef? It’s about a guy who opens a food truck and drives across the country selling Cuban sandwiches and it helps him win at life. Whatever, all I know is that by the end of the movie I NEEDED a Cubano, more than anything ever.

But first things first: the pork. This pork, you guys. I would climb mountains and cross rivers for this pork. The crust alone is enough to make a man weep.

Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork from The Food Charlatan

Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork from The Food Charlatan

In Cuba they have sour oranges. I’d never heard of them or tried one, but using sour oranges is how to make a true Mojo sauce. The best substitute is a combination of orange and lime, which is what I’ve done here. I’m not complaining. The result is incredible.

Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork from The Food Charlatan

I used this pork to fill Cuban sandwiches, coming to the blog next week. (UPDATED: Cubanos in the house.) The recipe for the pork and the sandwiches are both from the chef they hired for the movie. Cool right?

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Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork

Yield: Serves 6


  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced oregano (2 teaspoons dried oregano)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 3 and 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, in one piece*


  1. If you have a food processor: Add the orange juice, cilantro leaves, mint leaves, and smashed (not minced) garlic cloves, and pulse until everything is finely chopped. Add this mixture to a ziplock bag, along with the rest of the oil, zest, lime juice, oregano, and cumin.
  2. If you don't have a food processor: In a large ziplock bag, combine olive oil, orange zest, orange juice, lime juice, chopped cilantro, chopped mint, minced garlic, oregano, and cumin. Shake it around a bit to mix it up, then add the pork shoulder.
  3. Place the zipped up bag in a baking dish, and put it in the fridge overnight, or several hours at least.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a wire rack (I used a cooling rack) over a rimmed baking sheet.
  5. Place the pork on the rack and discard the marinade. Salt and pepper the pork well.
  6. Roast the pork for 30 minutes. It should be lightly browned.
  7. Turn the oven down to 375 degrees F. Roast for another 1 hour and 20-30 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 160.
  8. Transfer to a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil and let rest at least 20 minutes.
  9. Carve against the grain and serve.


*I accidentally grabbed a bone-in pork shoulder. Worked great!

Source:, who published the recipe from the chef who cooked for the movie “Chef.”

Here are the Cubanos I made with this pork. You have to try this!

Cuban Sandwiches from The Food Charlatan

Asian Pork Tenderloin with Ginger Glaze (Slow Cooker):

Asian Pork Tenderloin with Ginger Glaze (Slow Cooker) from The Food Charlatan

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peanut-Lime Sauce:

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peanut-Lime Sauce from The Food Charlatan


Brown Sugar Balsamic Pork Tenderloin:

Brown Sugar Balsamic Pork Tenderloin from


You might like these other recipes too!

Cuban Shredded Beef from The Girl Who Ate Everything
Slow Cooker Ropa Vieja from Cooking in Stilettos
Slow Cooker Puerto Rican Pork from The Noshery
Slow Cooker Cuban Pork from Belly Full
Crispy Roast Pork from Nutmeg Nanny

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  1. Sarah says

    I don’t think I’ve ever had Cuban food before. This is a tragedy. Except for the part where I have six weeks to demand you cook me every recipe you post between now and then! Ha!!

  2. says

    I loved the movie Chef! And ever since seeing it I have been craving those cuban flavors they were cooking up. Love that now I can make it! This seriously looks a-ma-zing Karen! And if you’re looking for another fun foodie movie, you must watch The Hundred Foot Journey. Loved it!
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  3. Misty says

    A whole cup of cilantro! You’ve managed the impossible, I’m actually craving pork Karen! I’m thinking street tacos! :)

  4. says

    I really liked Chef, it was one of the cutest movies I’ve seen in a long time. Although I was thinking “really, John Favreau, you wrote Sophia Vergara as your ex-wife?” Ha ha…I guess I could write a role for Chris Hemsworth as my husband in my next (imaginary) movie. Love the looks of this pork, it looks so flavorful! And gorgeous photos, too!
    Denise | Sweet Peas & Saffron recently posted…BROWN BUTTER RASPBERRY SWIRL CHEESECAKE BLONDIESMy Profile

  5. says

    I’ve literally been talking about this pork recipe since you first sent me a picture of it. I cannot believe HOW juicy it is and I can’t wait to make it. Seriously, I was telling my mom all about it when she was here – it’s that good!

  6. says

    This pork roast is incredible!! I want to eat it all! I really liked Chef. It should come with a “do not watch this if you’re hungry”. Pure food porn. Delicious and funny too! Pinning the pork.

  7. Marta says

    This looks amazing! I’m making it for a party this weekend but with just one oven I need to accommodate the temperature for other things I’m making. Can I turn the oven to 350 instead of 375? How much longer should I roast it?

    • says

      Hi Marta! I would recommend using a meat thermometer to determine when it’s done, I don’t know how long it would take at 350. I suspect if you skip the initial high-temp for 30 minutes you will not get the same crust, so I wouldn’t cut that out. Hope it works out for you!

  8. Jean says

    I made this for dinner tonight & it was so good! I served it with plantains with mojo sauce & black beans and rice. I have tried several Cuban pork recipes, but they did not begin to have the wonderful flavor that this roast has. It is better than the one my favorite Cuban restaurant serves! I will definitely be making this again & again. It’s a keeper. Next up will be Cuban sandwiches with the leftovers. Thanks!

  9. Sidsel says

    Have you tried it on a grill? I was thinking about making it on my Big Green Egg – the roast looks awesome! :D

    • says

      Hey Leanne! I haven’t tried that but another commenter on this post said she tried it with chops and it worked great. Hope you like it! PS My middle name is Leanne! Leanners unite! :)

    • says

      You could certainly freeze it when it’s all done roasting. You could also make the marinade, add the meat to the bag, then freeze. Let thaw in the fridge and only cook when it’s completely thawed. Good luck!

  10. Barbara says

    This was lovely and delicious on a chilly day. I think next time I’m going to try smoking the meat, and I will absolutely try the sandwiches once I source the right type of bread.

  11. says

    This looks incredible. The glaze on the outside of the pork has my mouth watering. I will definitely be trying this myself. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Joan says

    I had sour orange trees in Florida, basically, they are the root sick upon which other orange varieties are grafted. As usual, root stock is stronger so it will take over the variety if you’re not careful. I even found sour oranges in Florida west coast grocery stores (Publix). We also got puerca asada (Cuban pork) with rice and black beans and plantanos (fried plantations) at the mall food court. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

      • Joan says

        I just marinated pork with sour orange (or equivalent) and garlic. And my boss taught me to do the same with turkey, so good when i roasted it with the dark meat sitting in the marinade!

    • says

      Hi Daniela! This recipe wouldn’t work in the slow cooker. I mean, you would still get great tasting meat, but none of that crust. I suggest searching on Pinterest for slow cooker mojo pork :) Happy cooking!

  13. Andrea V says

    I made this for a big family get together! It was amazing! Huge hit! I put it on the bbq and cooked it on low coals for about 5 hours! I made coleslaw with some of the marinade and some mayonnaise and a little extra cumin and made sandwiches with the meat and coleslaw. Next time I’ll make extra marinade so we can drizzle it when serving. Thank you for the delicious recipe! We will use it again often!

  14. kristi says

    We live in Louisiana and you cant have anything without rice. Made it today and served over rice. DELICIOUS! Thank you for something new for us to enjoy!!!!

  15. Jewel says

    yummy!! I live in southern cal and have a few neighbors with sour orange trees great for marinating chicken also!! Look in your Hispanic aiel at the market they May have bottled mojo and sour orange( Naranja agria) my cousins wife is Cuban and an amazing cook has taught me great ways to use the stuff! Thanks for the recipe can’t wait to make it for her!!

  16. Alex says

    Oh my gosh this looks amazing! After seeing this on Pinterest I literally ran to the store to get the ingredients… Only problem is the smallest bone in pork roast they had was 7.5lbs. How much longer do you think you would plan to cook this? I have a meat thermometer and will use it I just want to serve this to some company on Friday and would like it to be somewhat warm. Thoughts?

  17. Donna says

    Sadly, I used to love Cuban food when living in homestead and Tampa but after that it wasn’t so easy to find in sc and nc. I would love to try this but mint and cilantro do not like me and I don’t care for the results if I eat them. I’m gonna try this without them but they are such a significant portion of the recipe I wonder if you could suggest something to replace them with. Food wise, they are the only things I can’t handle, except seafood, which I miss terribly as well.

    • says

      Oh bummer Donna! I’m trying to think what a good substitute would be. Parsley might be good. That’s the main herb in chimichurri, so it would turn out a lot like that. I still think you could try it omitting the cilantro and mint entirely and it would still turn out delicious. Let me know what you try!

      • Lilly says

        My hubby hates the mint, so I omit that but everything else works and he can’t eat it fast enough. We live in Phoenix, and have sour oranges planted EVERYWHERE as landscaping trees. I have also used combos of lemon/lime when the oranges are not on the trees.

  18. Kelli says

    I just found this recipe and it looks great. I got my ingredients and am ready to make it, but I just reallized I bought a pork loin instead of a shoulder. Do you think it will work or should I go back to the store. Thanks so much. I’m kind of new to cooking pork.

  19. says

    Do you slice the pork for the sandwiches the day you cook it or the next day when you make the sandwiches? How do you reheat the meat for the sandwiches microwave?

  20. Dalia says

    Hi, I’m Cuban born and raised, a true cuban pork roast would use a fresh pork whole shoulder bone and skin on or better known as (Pernil) in Spanish. but unless you live in a area that is proodomintly of Latin decent it’s hard to find. I moved to Tennesse from Tampa Florida and the only way to find one is by going to the slaughter houses. The new cuban version of making Cuban pork is with cilantro and mint but the traditional Old School pork would never use cilantro that’s used by those of Mexican decent we would use sour orange instead of the O.j. and Lime but if you can’t grow your own sour orange tree or buy them fresh at the Latin market the o.j. and lime are a great substitute. I’m growin my own dwarf sour orange tree because true sour orange for pork and chicken are the best….. If you look up Cuban recipes on they are pretty good but sometimes they even change recipes sometimes. I’m old fashioned and lime sticking to the old. Good Luck and happy cooking.

    • says

      Thanks for the info Dalia! I didn’t know the cilantro was from Mexican influence. I’m glad somebody put it together because it tastes amazing!! Someday I hope I can get my hands on that Pernil you’re talking about because that sounds sooooo good!!!

  21. Kara says

    This looks delicious! Do you have any suggestions for making it with boneless pork tenderloin? I have a 2.5 pound tenderloin, and just wondered if I need to adjust the temperature/cooking time? I can’t wait to try it!!

    • says

      Hey Kara! I’ve never tried it with a pork tenderloin. I would cook it at the high temp for the first half hour as suggested, then lower it and use a meat thermometer to know when it’s done. Hope you like it!

  22. says

    Hi there,

    I am looking forward to making this but our local grocer just had pork shoulder (picnic roast). Do you think this would still be ok.
    It is about 3 lbs. Thanks.

    • says

      Hey Betty! Yeah, I think it would be okay! Just use a meat thermometer to make sure you don’t over/undercook it. Let me know how it goes! Lots of people have asked about this but I’ve never tried it.

  23. says

    I made this roast for our Sunday night dinner today. It was delicious! Hubby loved it. We are also looking forward to using the leftover for the sandwiches tomorrow night! and I’m going to stick the rest into potstickers later in the week. Thanks for posting this recipe, it was great!

  24. Debbie says

    it seems a shame to throw the marinade away! I understand the danger of eating something that’s had raw meat marinating in it, but can’t you take the marinade put it in a sauce pan and cook or boil it for some time And then use it as a sauce to drizzle over your meat?

    • says

      You are so right Debbie! I agree it seems like a waste! Other commenters have mentioned boiling it and then simmering for a while to kill the bacteria. I’m sure it would be safe if you did that. And delicious too! Try it out, let me know what you do!

  25. Christa says

    Your Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork must have been amazing! I’m a vegetarian, but I made the pork for my husband and son….and they loved it! My son was hesitant to try it, but he finally did. Then he went back for seconds….and thirds….and FOURTHS!!! (He’s 13 and has a bottomless pit for a stomach!) Thanks!!!

  26. Bob says

    The recipe calls for pork shoulder and you say you do not trim anything prior t cooking. Are you actually calling for a pork butt like is used for making pulled pork? It usually has a fat cap on one side about 1/4″ thick similar to a brisket. It also is usually a thick, cube shape piece of meat with lots of internal fat that normally cooks out when making pulled pork because of the very long slow cooking. Is this the same cut of meat you are using?

    • says

      Hey Bob! You clearly know way more about pork than I do, haha. It’s the charlatan coming through. :) The original recipe said to get a boneless pork shoulder, I used a bone-in shoulder. There are photos in the post of the raw marinated meat that you can look at if you want. Also it might be helpful to follow the link to the original source, found below the recipe. Good luck! Enjoy!

  27. Jonisa Morris says

    This recipe popped up on my Facebook news feed today and I was impressed! I mentioned it to my boyfriend this afternoon and we’re going to attempt this tomorrow on the smoker. We’re prepping to marinate it tonight and hopefully it comes out just as delicious!

  28. says

    I am doing this up right now. The crust looks delectable. The marinade smelled so good, I bet it could serve as the base of a helluva salad dressing.
    Jorge recently posted…Hello world!My Profile

      • Jorge says

        I did not do the salad dressing this time. The pork roast however was delicious. The crust came out like the picture, and was right on par with the Cuban restaurant that I frequent here in Tampa. I have tried this with the store bought Mojo Criollo marinades, and there is no comparison. This recipe is the real deal.

  29. Heather says

    Quick question…

    I have the roast in the oven right now. Since it’s browning rather quickly, I decided to reread the recipe as I thought maybe I messed up the temp. Everything seems to be right on my end.

    What I’m wondering is:

    The recipe calls for a boneless pork shoulder what is what I bought. I just noticed your photos are of a “bone-in” pork shoulder.

    Do you think that’s the reason why mine is browning so quickly? I did reduce the heat to 325 degrees as I don’t want it to dry out.

    Any thoughts would be great!

  30. Jennifer says

    I accidentally got 3 relatively equal sizes of pork, instead of one big piece. How do you recommend cooking it since it isn’t one piece? (They are like pork steaks…)

  31. Katie Short says

    Searched “mojo chicken” on Pinterest after recalling an article I read many years ago in a “foodie” magazine. Made this, using thick center-cut pork chops. My intent was to grill them on low, but I ran out of time and motivation, so they went in the oven. Because they don’t cook as long they didn’t develop the “bark”, and I’ll do it differently next time, since I think the direct heat of the grill would change that. But they were absolutely the best pork chops I have ever made, as far as flavor goes! I just wanted to come back because so many folks are cooking for smaller families, and it is well worth making the marinade no matter how you’re going to use it. Just don’t worry about it when chops or a smaller today don’t look like the photo, and I’m sure you’ll want to make the “real thing” when you have the larger roast handy.

  32. Barbara Noe says

    I made this last week with a pork butt and it was delicious. Was wondering if you have made it with boneless pork loin. I know there is very little fat on them but they are on sale this week and thought I might give it a try. Great recipe!!

  33. Michelle G says

    Hello, I have a question. A situation just came up after I put the pork in the marinade. I cannot cook it tomorrow night as planned. But I can cook it the following night. Will it be ok to sit in the marinade for twice as long?.

  34. says

    Made it… loved it!! Served it with an herbed pilaf and cucumber relish!!! Will make again and do tacos with fresh guacamole!! Thanks for the recipe!!

  35. Dani says

    Hi there! I have this marinating right now but my husband bought a shoulder roast that is both bone-in and skin-on! Should I have removed the skin? Do I need to do anything different when I roast it?

  36. says

    We tried this recipe last week and my fiance just about cried. We LOVED it! We’re trying it again this week but with chicken instead of pork. Thanks for sharing it!!

  37. Sherri says

    This roast came out beautifully. I wish I could upload a picture of it. It wasn’t a difficult recipe, but it looks and tastes like a masterpiece. I wish I had made a little extra of the marinade to drizzle over it at the end. Thanks so much, this ones a winner.

  38. says

    Hello Karen,

    Honestly, you’ve shared so many amazing recipes here and oh my gosh, I just want ALL of them. I’m totally drooling over here!

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