A traditional roasted Cuban Mojo Marinated 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! Originally published April 9, 2015.

closeup of sliced cuban mojo marinated pork (lechon asado).
Table of Contents
  1. Mojo Pork Recipe Ingredients
  2. How to make Cuban Mojo Pork
  3. Tips for Mojo Pork
  4. How to serve roasted Mojo Pork
  5. Storing Cuban Pork
  6. Cuban Pork Recipe FAQs
  7. More great meat recipes to try!
  8. Cuban Mojo Pork Recipe

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.

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.

Mojo Pork Recipe Ingredients

Here’s a quick list of the ingredients so you can see whether or not you’ll need to go shopping for them. See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and instructions!

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Orange zest
  • Orange juice
  • Lime juice
  • Cilantro
  • Mint leaves
  • Minced oregano (fresh or dried)
  • Ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Pork shoulder (boneless or bone-in will work)

How to make Cuban Mojo Pork

Here’s a quick overview of how to make this Cuban Mojo Pork (just a summary – full instructions in the recipe card below!).

  1. Marinate the pork in olive oil, orange zest, orange and lime juice, chopped cilantro and mint, minced garlic, oregano, and cumin. Allow it to marinate for a few hours or overnight in the fridge.
  2. Season pork with salt and pepper. Roast it at 425ºF until browned, then turn the temperature down and cook at 375ºF for another 90 minutes or so.
  3. Remove pork from the oven, cover with foil, and let the pork rest for 20 minutes.
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Sliced lechon asado with fresh cilantro and an orange slice.
Fresh mint leaves in a white measuring cup.

Check out the meat before and after cooking. It’s so beautiful!

cuban mojo marinated pork roast (lechon asado) before and after roasting.

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 closeup.

Tips for Mojo Pork

Here are a few of my best tips and tricks for the best Roasted Cuban Mojo Pork! 

  • Bone-in or boneless: Feel free to use either! The recipe calls for boneless, but I’ve grabbed bone-in before and it has turned out great (really, even juicier).
  • Make time for the marinade. Marinating the pork for enough time is the key to a tender texture and great flavor. Don’t ruin the party! Give those amazing flavors at least a few hours to get acquainted, but ideally let them marinate overnight. 
  • Cook at high heat, then low heat. Starting the pork at 425ºF gets the exterior nice and crispy. Finishing the roast at a lower temperature gives the pork time to cook all the way through without drying out. Check the temp. Use a meat thermometer to verify that the internal temperature of your pork is 160ºF before you take it out of the oven. 
  • Let it rest. Give the pork 20 minutes to rest before you slice into it. Cut into it too soon, and all the moisture and flavor will seep out. Nooooooo
  • Slice against the grain.  Cutting it against the grain makes for tender meat in every bite.

How to serve roasted Mojo Pork

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?

cubano sandwiches made with roasted Cuban Mojo pork, pickles, mustard, ham, and swiss.

Storing Cuban Pork

Leftover Mojo pork will last in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 3-4 months. Keep it whole as slices tend to dry out more.

To reheat, thaw the pork overnight in the fridge if frozen. Wrap your pork (whole or sliced) in foil and warm for 10-20 minutes in a 375 degree oven. If you’re in a hurry, you can microwave slices on a plate, covered by a paper towel, in 30-second intervals until it’s warm. 

Cuban Pork Recipe FAQs

What does Mojo Pork taste like?

Mojo pork has a unique fresh, citrusy, garlicky flavor. It’s made using a combination of fresh herbs, seasonings, orange juice and zest, and lime juice. It’s so tender, incredibly juicy, and SO GOOD! 

Where does Mojo Pork come from?

Mojo pork is a type of pork roast that originated in Cuba, inspired by mojo sauces of the Canary Islands. It’s tender and juicy thanks to a flavorful marinade and roasting to perfection. 

What is mojo sauce made of?

Mojo sauce is made with citrus juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, mint, and cumin. Everyone’s recipe is a little different, but those are the essential components. It’s simple but packs a serious flavor punch! 

roasted cuban mojo pork (lechon asado) on a fork closeup.

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Cuban Mojo Pork

4.74 from 219 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 2 hours
Resting Time: 20 minutes
Total: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
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!


  • 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 & 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, in one piece*


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Place the zipped up bag in a baking dish, and put it in the fridge overnight, or several hours at least.
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a wire rack (I used a cooling rack) over a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Place the pork on the rack and discard the marinade. Salt and pepper the pork well.
  • Roast the pork for 30 minutes. It should be lightly browned.
  • Turn the oven down to 375 degrees F. Roast for another 1 hour and 20-30 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 160.
  • Transfer to a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil and let rest at least 20 minutes.
  • Carve against the grain and serve.


*I accidentally grabbed a bone-in pork shoulder. Worked great!
Source: People.com, who published the recipe from the chef who cooked for the movie “Chef.”


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 607kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 61g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 24g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 159mg | Sodium: 148mg | Potassium: 1151mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 359IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Cuban
Calories: 607
Keyword: Mojo marinated, pork
Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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  1. 5 stars
    Make this all the time! It’s beyond delicious and easy! I’ve given the recipe to many friends!

  2. 5 stars
    Hello chef,
    I made this recipe yesterday along with Cilantro Lime Rice. Wow
    They were both outstanding. We made cuban pork sandwiches.
    Writing from Montreal Canada.
    Thank you

  3. Hello, I’d like to do this in the crockpot so its pulled. Would that be ok? I have followed all of your steps for the marinade and will be letting it sit for 24hrs. Thanks ❤️

    1. Hi Amanda! Sure, you can definitely do this in the crockpot. Low and slow (8-10 hours on the low setting) will give you the best results. If you still want crispy edges, you can spread the pulled pork out on a baking sheet and broil it for a few minutes, oven carnitas style. Let us know how it turns out, we’d love to hear!

  4. 5 stars
    The pork sounds delicious 😋 my only problem is I don’t have a fresh pork roast I have a roasted pork shoulder that I need to use up! Leftovers if you like!🤷‍♀️ Could I use this marinade and cook the leftover roast pork in either a slow cooker or maybe wrapped in foil in the oven? Would 4 hours on low in the slow cooker work do you think or maybe wrapped in foil in a 350*f oven for a couple of hours? Do I marinate the cooked meat overnight in the fridge or do you think I can mix the meat with the marinade and cook it straight away? Sorry for all the questions but it sounds really delicious and hoping you might have some suggestions for me?

    1. Hi Sarah! I wouldn’t recommend trying to add the marinade to already cooked meat, BUT you could totally make Cubanos with your leftover pork. Totally delicious and you won’t dry out your pork shoulder. Enjoy!

  5. 5 stars
    /where I live we can’t get 3 1/2 pound pork shoulder just a couple of smaller ones. Do you have any suggestions on cooking times?

    1. Hi Candace! A good rule of thumb is to cook pork shoulder for about 25 minutes per pound. Include the initial 30 minutes at 425 in your calculations and set your timer accordingly. If you don’t have a meat thermometer I definitely recommend getting one! Enjoy :-)

  6. Has anyone tried this in an Air Fryer. I love this recipe. We have made it several times already but we live in Florida and turning on the oven gives our AC a bit of an extra workout.

  7. If I wanted to double the recipe do you think I should use 2 separate pork shoulders or one that is double the size? What would you do with cooking times?

    1. Hi Olivia, I recommend just using two separate pork shoulders. That way you get more of the delicious crusty exterior. Plus, you won’t have to worry about adjusting cooking times, and this size of pork shoulder is easier to find (usually) than bigger ones. Enjoy!

  8. Is it possible to make this with a leaner cut of pork? Like pork loin roast or pork tenderloin? I have developed an aversion to fatty meats (bummer I know) but I love Cuban sandwiches

    1. Hey Jean! I haven’t tried this but I think it would work. Be sure to look up roasting times for whatever cut of meat you choose!

    1. Hi Mike, yes you sure can! You can choose to leave it whole or slice it, as you prefer, before refrigerating. You can warm up individual slices in a skillet or heat the whole pork shoulder in the oven, as you prefer. Enjoy!

      1. Hi Karen
        For this recipe is pork shoulder the same as a pork butt? I don’t want to buy the incorrect cut of meat

        Thank you

        1. Hey Lori! Pork shoulder is indeed a different (though very similar) cut of pork, and you can use them interchangeably usually. Shoulder has a little less fat and marbling than the butt, and since this roast is not cooked suuuper slow, your pork might feel a little more fatty if you get the butt. but it will still be good! enjoy!!

  9. I’m wondering if you can help. I accidentally grabbed pork shoulder in cubes and didn’t realize it until I was putting the pork into the ziploc bag with the marinade. Do you have any suggestions for the best way to cook the cubes?

    1. Aw that is a bummer Rebecca. I don’t know really. I would think do the same process but just shorten everything. like only 5 minutes at the higher temp, then lower the temp ad continue cooking until they are done, which might not take long at all. If you have a meat thermometer use that! God luck!

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