Juliann Esquivel Recipe

Cuban Roast Pork, Pernil O Pierna Asada Estilo Cubano

By Juliann Esquivel Juliann

Recipe Rating:
 25 Ratings
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Cooking Method:

Juliann's Story

I have never tasted a more delicious roast pork then Cuban roast pork. Most often a fresh ham or large pork shoulder is slow roasted with the mojo sauce that has been marinated into the meat giving it that most delicious taste. The aroma will mesmerize you when this pork is roasting in the oven. At Christmas time or on special occasions a whole pig 65 to 75 lbs is roasted, It is called Lechon Asado, It is roasted this way with the mojo sauce and put into a Caja China, a special roasting box that the Cubans make. Almost every Cuban family owns a Caja China for roasting their pig on special ocassions. Sometimes they send their pig to a bakery or restuarant to have it roasted for them. We roast ours every Christmas in the back yard in our Caja China. It takes all day long about 10/12 hours. I have no picture to post but will post one soon. Enjoy

Blue Ribbon Recipe

Notes from the Test Kitchen:
Goodness, this recipe brought back wonderful memories of eating Cuban food while visiting Florida years ago! We chose to use lime juice and it tasted spectacular. We will definitely be serving this for special dinners in the future!


1 large
4 or 5 pound pork roast shoulder or fresh ham (ham that is not cured or smoked or cooked)
find more delicious recipes at www.porkbeinspired.com
2 c
sour orange or fresh lime or lemon juice
1 large
bay leaf
2 tsp
dried oregano
2 tsp
cumin powder
2 Tbsp
salt and 1 teaspoon salt.
1/2 tsp
black pepper
20 clove
fresh garlic peeled, cloves can be left whole
cuban mojo sauce
2 large
onions sliced in thin rounds
1/2 c
roast pork pan drippings
1/2 c
reserved garlic and lime sauce mixture

Directions Step-By-Step

Buy a nice large pork shoulder or fresh ham try to buy with the skin on the fresh ham. I am doubtful you will find a pork shoulder with the skin on it but you can try. THE NIGHT BEFORE: Take your pork shoulder or fresh ham and stab it all over making deep stabbings in the meat all over the roast. Next take your salt pour about two tablespoons full in your hands and rub deep all over the pork roast or fresh ham sticking your fingers in the deep stabbed holes to penetrate the salt well into the meat. Do this all around the ham. You will need about 2 tablespoons of salt all together. If it is a very large fresh ham you might need as much as three tablespoons of salt. Rubbing deep into the meat all over and into the holes made with a sharp knife. Please be careful with the knife when stabbing the pork so as to not cut yourself. Make sure your hands are dry as well as the handle of the knife when stapping the pork. You do not want your hand to slide down onto the sharp blade as I have seen happen when stabbing the pork.
After salting put the pork to a side. In a blender add the lime/lemon or sour oange juice, garlic cloves, and the seasonings bay leaf, cumin powder, oregano, pepper, 1 teaspoon salt. Blend on high until all is liquified. This is your Cuban Mojo, pour one cup of the mojo in a jar cover and reserve for later. Now take your pork roast and pour the rest of the sauce all over the pork roast rubbing the mojo sauce deep into the pork meat in the slits or holes. The secret is to make sure you rub your pork meat roast or fresh ham with all this lime/garlic sauce making sure it is well introduced into the meat. When done sprinkle a little more oregano, cumin, black pepper over the entire roast again just a little sprinkle. Cover with aluminum foil; and refrigerate until the next day for roasting.
Next day remove pork from the refrigerator let stand on the counter for at least an hour then put into a preheated 325 degree oven. Depending on how large a roast you have roast about 3 to 4 hours or a little more. Pour a half cup of the reserved mojo and baste your roast every hour with some of the mojo. Roast is done when the juices run clear and the meat is tender. Do not cover with aluminum foil to roast. You can tent the roast with aluminum foil but do not crimp the edges all arond. You want to roast your pork meat not steam it. I do not even tent mine. If the roast starts to get to brown on top tent it with the foil. take a large piece of foil and fold in half then put over the roast leaving the sides open, no crimping. A five pond roast can take as long as five or six hours slow roasting. When done remove roast from the oven take out of the pan put into another pan. Let roast hang out for a bit.
In your pan there should be lots of pan drippings pour them into a frying pan over medium heat and add the onions and fry them in the drippings. Next take half cup of the reserved mojo from the refrigerator and pour into the onions sauteing everything for about five minutes. After about 10 minutes slice all of your roast and pour the mojo with onions all over the meat mixing it well into all of the pork meat. Serve with Cuban black beans and white rice. See my postings for these dishes.
There is another traditional dish served with the pork, rice, and black beans. It is called Yuca (Casava)it is boiled when tender it is served with the pork, black beans and rice. It looks like boiled potatoe only it is long and very starchy. It is served with a mojo sauce that is also pored over it but only lemon or lime juice and fresh garlic is used. But that is another recipe. It is a tradition to also include that dish with the Cuban roast pork dinner. Dont forget the Crispy Cuban bread and the Sangria or wine, For dessert pass a delicious flan. Buen Apetito. Enjoy. I have no picture to post today of my Cuban pork roast should be making one soon and will post.

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Pork, Roasts, Savory Pies
Main Ingredient: Pork
Regional Style: Cuban
Other Tag: Quick & Easy
Hashtags: #Onion, #Garlic, #ham, #pork

  • Comments

  • 1-5 of 305
  • user
    Juliann Esquivel Juliann - Sep 19, 2010
    Juliann Esquivel [Juliann] has shared this recipe with discussion groups:
    "Recipes by Robert"
    Looking for...
    Panda's Pickin's
    Whats Cooking Today?
  • user
    Bonnie D. Utahn - Sep 19, 2010
    Well, I will pass on the whole hog, Juliann, but I AM going to try something a little smaller that doesn't wiggle! LOL! It sounds absolutely divine! Question, what is a caja china? What an outstanding job you did on this recipe; what a labor of love. Thank you, blessings.
  • user
    gloria palmer gpalmer - Sep 20, 2010
    I used to live in Tampa FL. and had this at church dinners a few times!! They started in the early morning to be done about 2pm. I remember them digging a pit to put the whole hog in...I loved it and the roast was wonderfull..People...try this one!!
  • user
    Juliann Esquivel Juliann - Sep 20, 2010
    Hi Bonnie! I don't blame you the whole hog we only do on Christmas, and New Years, and on a really special occasion. But the roast pork shoulder or fresh ham can be done any time. A Caja China is a Roasting box made out of wood and then lined with metal sheets all around. A special cover is made also of metal. The whole hog goes inside the box and it roasts inside. Charcoal is put inside the box towards the ends and on top of the cover so heat is being radiated on the top and on the bottom of the hog. The hog is placed between two screen like metal grills somthing looking like huge oven racks and then secured with special wire. the hog sits in the middle of the box not touching to topnor the bottom and raost like this until it is prefectly cooked the skin is golden brown and crackles with pushed on just slightly. An absolute gorgeous roasted hog. Something like what the Hawaians do with their roast hog. We do it this way instead of making it in the pit as we used to do. To much trouble digging a large hole and lining with bricks and then coals and then bending over to pull hog out is a real labor. So we opted for the roasting box or Caja China. Thanks for the compliments. LOL
  • user
    Juliann Esquivel Juliann - Sep 20, 2010
    Thank you Gloria for your comment. LOL