Roasted Pork Shoulder Cuban Style
Serves 8
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Total Time
3 hr
Total Time
3 hr
  1. 1/4 cup triple sec or Grand Marnier
  2. 1/2 cup lime juice
  3. 1/2 cup orange juice (sour oranges are preferred)
  4. 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  5. 1 tablespoon whole cumin seed
  6. 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried
  7. 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  8. 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  9. 1/2 cup soy sauce
  10. 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  11. 3 tablespoons olive oil
  12. 5 to 7 pound bone-in or boneless Boston butt
  13. 1/3 cup Cuban Marinade
  14. 3/4 cup orange juice
  15. 1/4 cup lime juice or to taste
  16. 1 teaspoon sugar or to taste
  17. 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
  18. 2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
  1. To make the marinade, combine all the ingredients -- Grand Marnier, lime juice, 1/2 cup orange juice, brown sugar, cumin seed, oregano, lime zest, garlic, soy sauce, black pepper, olive oil -- in a bowl. Set 1/3 cup aside and refrigerate. Place pork into a two gallon zipper-lock bag and pour in the marinade. Seal and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days. Turn bag from time to time to redistribute the marinade.
  2. When ready to grill-roast, remove the pork from the marinade. Shake off the excess and discard marinade. Set up a grill with equal coals banked on opposite sides and a pan in the center to catch the juice. Because it will take a long time to cook the pork make sure you have spare coals when the fire goes too low.
  3. Place the roast over the drip pan. Cover the grill and try to maintain a temperature within the grill of between 300 degrees and 325 degrees. Begin checking the internal temperature of the roast after 2 hours. When the temperature reaches 180 degrees and the meat is fork-tender, the roast is ready to come off the grill. Transfer to a cutting board and loosely cover with foil. Let rest at least 15 minutes or up to 30 minutes.
  4. While the roast is cooking make the citrus sauce. Pour 1/3 cup of the Cuban Marinade, 3/4 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup lime juice and 1 teaspoon sugar into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Adjust the acidity and sweetness to your taste with the additional lime juice and sugar. Stir in the cornstarch and bring to a boil for 30 seconds to thicken slightly. Set aside. Right before you are ready to serve the sauce, rewarm the sauce for a moment and stir in the optional cilantro.
  5. Carve the roast into 1/4-inch slices and drizzle with a little of the sauce, serving the extra sauce for your guests to serve themselves.
Chef's Note
  1. Alternatively you can roast the Boston butt in a 325 degree oven. The cooking times and doneness temperatures should be the same.
  2. For a special presentation, try to buy a whole pork shoulder (Boston butt and picnic all in one piece). Double the marinade and sauce recipe and grill-roast for 3 to 4 hours. This will serve 12 to 16 people.
  3. The Cubans are masters at slow-roasting pork. The pinnacle of their craft is lechon, a whole, spit-roasted baby pig. Not many of us have the where withal to roast a whole pig, even a small one. Instead, large chunks of pork such as whole legs, or Boston butt or even whole shoulders make a more than adequate substitute. Nowadays when you order lechon at a Cuban restaurant, you will more than likely be served roasted leg or even shoulder meat -- no matter, because it's the tangy marinade that makes this dish so delicious anyway. Some of the marinade is also used to make a sauce for the sliced meat. The meat by the way is best cooked quite well done, to the point where it's falling off the bone.
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