For Spring Break, Warren was supposed to go to Cuba for work while I stayed home mourning (i.e., snuggling with sweet Felix while his pops wandered through sugar cane fields) but plans fell through and I had to instead soothe Warren’s mourning soul with a big batch of our newest favorite taco meat–Cuban Pork Roast!
Eating this was basically like our whole family had somehow gotten ourselves to Cuba to eat fried plantains and saunter around beaches watching palm trees shake and dance in the wind.
[Warren would like to interrupt my travel daydream for a hot second to report that eating this pork–while absolutely delicious and delightful–was not, in any way shape or form, like actually being in Cuba. It must have been the torrential, freezing rain pounding on our house, though I pretended that was just a fleeting tropical storm. Because I’m good at being delusional.]
(And guys, don’t feel too sorry for him, he hasn’t had to step foot into his office for six months due to the beauties of a flexible schedule. Yes, go on and hate. I do, every single morning when I wake up and drive to work.)
This pork begins with a handful of gorgeous herbs mixed with bright citrus notes and a generous portion of garlic and then turns into the most delectable, perfectly-crusted-on-the outside-tender-as-hell-o-on-the-inside pork that slices paper thin in order to become the most gorgeous pork taco outside of Cuba.
Or, at least, in all of the Midwest.
During a torrential freezing downpour.
When all a lady wants to do is sit on a patio somewhere with the sun shining and air thick with summer and ocean and eat tacos with her boys.
Can I get an Amen!?
Long story short, you should make this pork.
It has special powers to transform even the glummest could-have-been-in-Cuba days into your own personal paradise.
It also has extra magical powers to become a crazy amount of different kinds of foods–stuffing it in tacos is one answer, but I have a few other ways to use leftovers up my sleeve.
Finally, I will say that if you make this your house will smell incredible. That being said, you’ll also have to watch your back because tiny thieving fingers will be waiting. Like a pack of ravenous, adorable wolves.
You were warned.
Cuban Pork Roast
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1½ cup fresh cilantro (leaves and stems)
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- zest and juice of ½ lime
- ½ cup fresh mint leaves (stems removed)
- 10 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 5 pounds pork shoulder, boneless and skinless
- kosher salt
- Combine all ingredients (except for the pork and kosher salt) in a blender or food processor and whiz until smooth. If you don't have a blender, chop all herbs and garlic then add to the citrus juice and olive oil. Set aside ½ cup of the marinade to mix in with roasted pork at the end.
- Put pork in a large ziplock plastic bag (or large baking pan and cover with plastic wrap). Pour remaining marinade over pork and kind of smoosh it around to cover it evenly. Marinate in the fridge overnight, or at least 3 hours (if going for a shorter time, leave on the counter so it comes to room temperature. If refrigerating, allow to come to room temperature the next day).
- Cover a large baking pan with parchment paper or foil. Put a metal cookie cooling rack (or roast rack) over the covering. Place pork on rack and cover pan with foil. Roast at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 hours.
- Remove foil and return pan to oven for another 20 minutes. Crank oven up to broil for another 5-10 minutes, check to make sure the pork is not burning.
- Let pork rest for 20 minutes before slicing. Slice pork and toss with ½ cup marinade you set aside earlier.