Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Cuban Pork Roast - Lechón Asado

A pork roast, rubbed with garlic, salt, cumin and oregano, marinated in a sour orange mojo with onions and then slow roasted. Serve Cuban-style, sliced and with a side of rice and black beans for your first meal - use leftovers to make a traditional Sandwich Cubano.
A pork roast, rubbed with garlic, salt, cumin and oregano, marinated in a sour orange mojo with onions and then slow roasted. Serve Cuban-style, sliced and with a side of rice and black beans for your first meal - use leftovers to make a traditional Sandwich Cubano.

Cuban Pork Roast - Lechón Asado

For years I was deprived of a true Cuban-style sandwich. I wasn't even aware they existed, until I started developing and writing my own recipes for my website, Deep South Dish, but once I did, I was insatiably curious about them! There wasn't anyplace around here to buy one to try though - still isn't as far as I know.

From what I had seen around the net, the sandwich was very simple - a basic sandwich made with ham, cheese and pork roast - often just simply whatever pork roast was leftover from dinner. But, could that be right? Not so much.

Digging further I found that a Sandwich Cubano is made from a mojo-marinated pork roast, with a very specific flavor profile. Ah ha! That is what really set it apart from just a sandwich. Even still, I also found that most folks who make a mojo Cuban pork roast used a commercially available product {affil link} - something else that isn't widely available around here either.

I knew I needed to write my own recipe, and if I was going to do that, I wanted to try to get as authentic as possible, so I ended up purchasing the icuba cookbook {affil link} and used that to base this recipe on. It was a beautiful cookbook anyway, filled with stories and history of the Cuban people and culture, and gorgeous photography, on top of some pretty enticing and interesting recipes that I was fascinated by anyway! In fact, I ended up purchasing another, equally gorgeous, Cuban cookbook called The Cuban Table {affil link}. In other words, you'll likely see a few Cuban recipes showing up here on the site on down the line.

I discovered that one of the key ingredients of the mojo marinade is sour orange, made by combining sweet orange juice with sour lime juice. Oregano and cumin are also classic seasonings used for Lechon Asado, however I also found a Cuban seasoning when I was placing a Prime Pantry order, so I used that the second time I made this roast. Besides oregano and cumin, it also contains onion, garlic, red and green bell pepper, lemon peel and some other spices.

As always, the full recipe with measurements and an ingredient list is further down the page. Just scroll or swipe past the step by step tutorial below. To print, tap or click on the print button to open a pdf document, or highlight, copy and paste the recipe text to your word processing program.

Here's how to make my Cuban roast for a Sandwich Cubano!

You'll need garlic. Lots of garlic - I'm using a dozen cloves but some recipes use much more. Smash garlic, salt, oregano and cumin together, until garlic is nearly pulverized. I'm using a boneless, Boston butt I picked up on sale. Leave the fat layer intact, but cut deep slits into pork roast, smearing garlic mixture all over roast and pushing some into the slits. Place roast into a non-reactive bowl or large zipper storage bag, placed into a bowl; add onions. Whisk together juices and pour into the container with the roast and refrigerate several hours to overnight, turning a few times if possible.

Remove roast from marinade and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Meanwhile, transfer marinade into a saucepan, bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Place roast in roasting pan, top with onions and pour marinade around the roast, cover tightly and bake for about 3 hours for a boneless butt, longer (5 to 8 hours) for the same size bone-in shoulder or fresh ham, or until meat is fork tender and internal temperature is 145 to 160 degrees F, adding water to pan if needed. Remove roast from oven and increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F.

Uncover pot and remove roast, reserving drippings. Drizzle roast with oil. Return to pot and place into oven, roasting until browned, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and from pan and let stand for 30 minutes before slicing against the grain. Skim fat from the top of drippings (I like to use a fat separator {affil link}) and drizzle over servings of meat, if desired.

Of course, I highly recommend that your first meal be the consumption of some of this amazing roast, alongside some black beans and rice, followed by sandwiches with some of the leftovers.

To make a Cuban sandwich, known as a Sandwich Cubano, a descendant of the Spanish "mixto," you'll need some Cuban bread, if you can get your hands on some. Otherwise use pistolettes or a long loaf of Italian or French bread. Use a serrated knife to split the bread lengthwise. Spread a thin layer of yellow mustard on both bread halves. Slightly warm meats in microwave if you prefer them to not be cold. Add dill pickles, sliced lengthwise, slices of sweet ham and a few slices of roasted pork. Top with slices of baby Swiss. Drizzle with roast pan juices and add top. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches.

Heat sandwiches using a sandwich press, weighted in a buttered cast iron pan, or on a buttered flat top grill, until bread is crisp and lightly browned and cheese melts. Remove and cut in half at the diagonal. Tampa-style adds Genoa salami with the meats and Miami-style adds potato sticks on their sandwich, adding those just before serving, if desired. Secure with picks and serve immediately.

For more of my favorite pork roast recipes, check out the collection on my Pinterest page!

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Posted by on October 21, 2019

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