This Lechon Asado or Cuban Roast Pork is marinated in a flavorful Cuban mojo garlic (garlic and citrus packed) sauce. And then cooked until it’s super tender. While this Cuban dish is typically roasted in the ground or a caja China, this recipe comes together quickly and is cooked to perfection in a pressure cooker. I like to serve it with rice, black beans, sweet plantains, lime wedges, and cilantro.
Now that fall is in full swing, I’ve been turning to recipes and flavors that feel extra cozy to me. Mojo anything is my jam. If you’re unfamiliar with it, it’s a Cuban marinade that’s paired with everything from pork to chicken and even fish. Pork is a delicious protein that takes on many different flavor profiles, which is why it is well-loved all over the world and why it’s perfect to marinate in mojo.
This post is sponsored by the National Pork Board and with this recipe, pork is adding a little extra cozy to these fall days.
WHAT IS MOJO MARINADE?
Mojo is a marinade typically has four components:
- sour oranges
- lots of garlic
In the case of this recipe, I use a combination of oranges and limes to mimic the flavor of sour oranges, which are harder to find where I am. In Cuba, they have lots of sour oranges that I imagine are probably bomb. And since we’re cooking the pork shoulder in a pressure cooker, I use a small amount of olive oil to brown the pork and then the pressure cooker does a great job of rendering fats into the juices as it cooks. Cuts like pork shoulder will require a longer cook time and higher endpoint temperature for the best eating experience, which is why a pressure cooker is ideal for this recipe. Pork is safe to eat once it reaches 145°F, but for pork shoulder we’ll be looking for somewhere around 170°F or higher. You can find more information on pork cooking temperatures here.
WHERE IS MOJO FROM?
Mojo originates in Cuba and can be found in many other parts of the Caribbean.
It uses Cuban sour oranges and has lots of minced garlic.
WHAT IS LECHON ASADO?
Pork in Spanish is lechon and roast is asado. For Cubans, lechon asado or roast pork is mojo marinated and usually served on special occasions like Christmas or New Year’s.
Cooking it in my Instant Pot makes it possible to make this special meal whenever you need a little extra comfort–even on a weekday! The flavors remind me of my family and are so good that it’s a crowd favorite.
HOW TO MAKE LECHON ASADO
- Whisk grated garlic, lime zest and juice, orange zest and juice, salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin together. Then pour over pork that has been cut into six pieces and pierced with a pairing knife. You’ll marinate it in the fridge for six hours.
- After six hours, you’ll brown the pork on all sides, in batches in your pressure cooker using the sauté setting.
- Next, you’ll add any extra marinade juices to your Instant Pot, along with one sliced onion. And cook it on high pressure for an hour and 15 minutes, allowing the pressure to release naturally.
- Then you’ll transfer the super tender pork pieces to a serving platter and shred the meat with two forks. Taste a piece to see if you need to add additional salt or pepper. Cover that pork with foil to rest it. The remaining juices in the pot will be simmered for 10 to 15 minutes with an additional onion that has been sliced. Be sure to also taste the juices and adjust the seasoning as desired.
- Once simmered, add the onions and about a cup of the juices to the rested pork and toss them together. You’ll serve everything with lime wedges, cilantro, rice, sweet plantains, and black beans.
Looking for more recipes? Here are some favorites:
Instant Pot Lechon Asado
- 1 head of garlic peeled and finely grated
- Zest of 2 limes
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 4 limes), divided
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 small navel oranges)
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 5 lbs boneless pork shoulder cut into 6 pieces
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large onions sliced, divided
- In a bowl, combine the garlic, lime zest and 1/4 cup lime juice (reserving the other ¼ cup for later), orange zest and juice, salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin and whisk together until well combined. Using a paring knife, cut 1 inch deep slashes into the six pieces of pork, placing them into a large mixing bowl or a large freezer bag as you go.
- Evenly pour the marinade over the pork and give it a good mix to thoroughly coat all the pieces of pork and get into all the crevices. If using a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and if using a bag, seal it and then transfer to the refrigerator to marinate for six hours.
- After the pork has marinated for six hours, set your pressure cooker to the sauté setting on high and add the olive oil. Add three of the six pieces of pork to the cooker, shaking off any excess marinade back into the bowl or bag, and brown for three minutes on each side. Place the browned pieces on a plate and repeat the process with the remaining three pieces of pork.
- Transfer the browned pieces on the plate back to the cooker and add any remaining marinade juices from the bowl or bag into the pot. Put half of the onion slices, reserving the other half for later, on top of the pork and Lock the lid. Cook on high pressure for 1 hour and 15 minutes, letting the pressure release naturally when it’s done.
- Transfer the pork pieces to a serving platter and use two forks to shred the meat. Taste a piece and sprinkle some additional salt and pepper if necessary. Cover with a piece of foil and rest. Using the simmer function on your cooker, add the reserved 1/4 cup of lime juice and reserved onion slices and simmer them with the juices for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Taste the juices from the pot and see if you need to adjust with more salt and pepper. Toss the shredded pork with about a cup or so of the juices and the simmered onion slices. Serve with lime wedges, cilantro, rice, sweet plantains, and black beans.