Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lechon Asado (cuban citrus and garlic roast pork) with Mojo

This is a new recipe for me out of an old favorite: BBQ USA: 425 Fiery Recipes from All Across America, the same book I got Coffee Crusted Pork Tenderloins from. Any recipe that lists its first ingredient as 1 head garlic has to be good right? My parents are coming for a Father's Day BBQ and I wanted to pull out a new treat so I decided this was the way to go. I have made a Mojo sauce before for a cumin crusted pork paillard recipe (I will have to put that one on here some time)

The Ingredients
1 head garlic
1 Tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups of lime juice
1/2 cup orange juice (if you can find sour orange juice you can use 2 cups of it instead of the lime orange mix)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 pork shoulder (5-7 lbs)

Put the garlic, salt, cumin, oregano salt and pepper into your food processor and pulse until everything is coarsely chopped. At this point just the aroma should make you pretty happy you tried this recipe. Turn the processor on as slow as you can get it and while it's running pour in the olive oil and juice. It should wind up looking like a salad dressing.

Next. make a bunch of slices in your pork shoulder, put the tip of a knife about an inch or so deep, wiggle it around a bit to open things up. Once you have perforated your pork, put it into a non-reactive container and pour the marinade onto it, working the marinade into the slits in the pork. Remember that Tupperware marinating container I talked about with the pork tenderloin dish? Yep, you should have one. Otherwise you can put in in a glass baking dish and cover tightly with plastic wrap. If you have a Ziploc bag big enough that would work as well. Ideally you want to turn the pork a few times to get the marinade evenly distributed. Let it sit overnight at a minimum, but 24-48 hours, or more, would be much better. Seriously, if you want this for a Saturday BBQ start it Wednesday night.

Now I am starting mine in the smoker and I will finish it on the grill, but any indirect cooking method will work fine. Charcoal, gas, giant pit in the ground, whatever you happen to have around. So heat up your cooking vehicle of choice and while it heats you can finish preparing the pork.

Open the lid, inhale heavily, then drain off the marinade and let the pork sit on a cutting board. Rub it all over with kosher salt and pepper and then put it on the heat. The recipe says it will be 3-4 hours on a grill with indirect cooking, shooting for an internal temp of 195. 195 is higher than I would usually cook pork but apparently that is the Cuban way. I like 175 or 180. You have a meat thermometer, right? Every kitchen needs one to make sure your foods are cooked to the proper temperature. Even if it's just a simple stem thermometer. (And yes, this public health PSA is brought to you by Kerrie).

For the Mojo Sauce
1 cup olive oil
12 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/3 cups of sour orange juice (or the same lime orange mix from the marinade)
2/3 cup water
2 tsp kosher salt or more
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup cilantro

Heat the olive oil to medium or medium high in a saucepan and add the sliced garlic, cook the garlic until it is light or golden brown. Add the remaining ingredients except for the cilantro and bring them to a boil for 3-5 minutes then let it cool to room temperature. Add the cilantro right before serving.

When your pork is done let it rest for 10 minutes or so then cut it into slices.

Pour the sauce over the pork when it is ready and enjoy yourself a treat. Or you can pour the sauce over the pork and some grilled plantains which are pretty simple.

Slice 2-4 plantains on an angle so you have long evenly thick slices, slice the peel and remove from each piece. Either coat your grill with oil, or take a piece of foil and fold up the edges a bit and pour in a few tablespoons of canola oil, toss the plantains in the oil, sprinkle with a bit of salt and put the foil on the grill. If your grill has wide grates then go the foil route, you will be happier. Cook the plantains on one side until the get a nice brown caramel color then flip and cook a few minutes more. They get a really nice sweet potato flavor and the salty sweetness goes amazingly well with the mojo and the pork.

Watch this space for the amazing fresh bread Kerrie made and a really wonderful lobster, shrimp, mango and pea salad that my mother contributed.

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