We wanted a boldly flavored Cuban-style pork roast recipe with crackling-crisp skin and tender meat infused with flavor.To speed up cooking, we abandoned cooking the pork on the grill (which required constant refueling and rotating over several hours) in favor of the oven. To give our Cuban-style pork roast recipe added flavor, we combined methods, first marinating the pork in a powerful solution that included 2 heads of garlic and 4 cups of orange juice, then rubbing an exterior paste into slits cut all over the pork.
Serves 8 to 10
Letting the cooked roast rest for a full hour will yield noticeably more tender meat. This roast has a crispy skin that should be served along with the meat. Top the meat with Mojo Sauce (see related recipe). Traditional accompaniments include black beans, rice, and fried plantains.
Pork and Brine
1 bone-in, skin-on pork picnic shoulder (7 to 8 pounds)
3 cups sugar
2 cups table salt
2 medium heads garlic , unpeeled cloves separated and crushed
4 cups orange juice
12 medium cloves garlic , peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon table salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
6 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1. TO BRINE THE PORK: With sharp paring knife, cut 1-inch-deep slits (about 1 inch long) all over roast, spaced about 2 inches apart. Dissolve sugar and salt in 6 quarts cold water in stockpot or large bucket. Stir in garlic and orange juice. Submerge pork in brine and refrigerate 18 to 24 hours.
2. TO APPLY THE GARLIC-CITRUS PASTE: Process garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper in food processor until they reach consistency of coarse paste, about ten 1-second pulses. With machine running, add orange juice, vinegar, and oil through feed tube and process until mixture forms smooth, wet paste, about 20 seconds. Remove pork from brine and rinse under cool running water; pat dry with paper towels. Rub paste all over pork and into slits. Refrigerate pork while oven is preheating to 325 degrees with rack in lower-middle position.
3. TO ROAST THE PORK:2. Place pork with skin side down on wire rack set over rimmed baking sheet or in roasting pan with rack. Cook, uncovered, 3 hours. Flip roast skin side up and continue to cook until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of meat registers 190 degrees, about 3 hours more, lightly tenting roast with foil if skin begins to get too dark.
4. Transfer roast to cutting board and let rest 1 hour. To carve, first remove skin in one large piece. Scrape off and discard top layer of fat, then cut pork away from bone in 3 or 4 large pieces. Slice each piece against grain into 1/4-inch slices. To serve skin, scrape excess fat from underside and cut into strips. Drizzle Mojo Sauce (see related recipe) over pork just before serving.