Cuban-Style Pork with Pineapple Salsa

Save the leftovers of this slow-roasted meat to make sandwiches
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Cuban Pork with Pineapple Salsa
Photo: Lizzie Munro/Tasting Table

What makes this dish so special is the mojo de ajo, a sauce traditionally made with Seville (sour) oranges, oregano and a lot of garlic. If you can't find sour oranges, just use equal parts orange and lime juices to get that sweet-tart flavor for the marinade.

Cuban-Style Pork with Pineapple Salsa

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 35 minutes, plus marinating overnight

Cook Time: 4 hours and 20 minutes

Total Time: 4 hours and 55 minutes, plus marinating overnight


For the Roast Pork:

2 cups fresh orange juice, divided

2 cups fresh lime juice, divided

20 large garlic cloves (1½ to 2 heads)

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground cumin

One 7½-8-pound boneless, skin-on pork shoulder

3 tablespoons kosher salt

4 cups chicken stock, for braising

Rice and cooked black beans, for serving

For the Pineapple Salsa:

1 medium red onion, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (2 limes)

2 teaspoons kosher salt

3 cups finely chopped pineapple (about ⅔ pineapple)

2 habanero peppers, seeded and minced

⅓ cup chopped cilantro


1. Make the roast pork: In a food processor or blender, pulse or blend ¼ cup of the orange juice, ¼ cup of the lime juice, the garlic, oregano and cumin until smooth.

2. Place the pork on a work surface, skin-side up. Using a sharp knife, score the skin in 1-inch intervals to form a crosshatch pattern.

3. To butterfly the pork, start by making an incision about 1 inch up, lengthwise. Continue to cut, making long strokes, lifting the meat until it is completely rolled out and flat. Season the inside aggressively with salt and rub ½ cup of the marinade onto the meat. Pull the right flap up and over to close the pork and rub ¼ cup of the marinade over the skinless part. Flip over and rub the remaining marinade into the skin. Using butcher twine, tie around the shoulder to hold it together and season with more salt. Transfer it to a large pot, skin-side up, and pour the remaining orange and lime juices around the meat. Marinate overnight, flipping the pork halfway.

4. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°. Remove the meat 1 hour before cooking. Place the pork, skin-side up, in a large Dutch oven and pour the stock around the meat. Cover and braise until there is no resistance when pierced with a knife or fork, about 3 to 3½ hours.

5. While the pork is braising, make the pineapple salsa: In a medium bowl, combine the onions and lime juice, season with salt and let macerate for 15 minutes. Add the pineapple, habanero and cilantro to the onions, and fold to combine. Adjust with lime juice and salt as needed. Makes 3 to 3½ cups.

6. Remove the pork and increase the oven temperature to 500°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside. Transfer the pork to the prepared baking sheet, skin-side up, and roast until the skin begins to puff and crisp, rotating if needed, another 18 to 20 minutes.

7. Remove the meat from the oven, tent with foil and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes before shredding.

8. Shred the pork into large chunks and serve with the pineapple salsa, rice and black beans.

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