Recipes

Cuban Mojo Carnitas (Shredded Pork)

Serves 8

| Prep Time: 15 mins

| Cook Time: 40 mins to 4+ hrs

| Total Time: 55 min to 4+ hrs

You may need: Dried Garlic Powder

Discover The Recipe

If you have a mortar and pestle lying around, this Cuban Mojo Carnitas (shredded pork) recipe would be the reason to use it! Traditionally made by grinding fresh herbs with garlic and adding to sweet and sour citrus juices, Cuban 'Mojo Criollo' sauce is the perfect marinade for chicken, pork, and seafood. Mojo is a Latin staple, featuring notes of tangy citrus, pungent garlic, and herby cilantro, blended together with oil to capture the flavor and tenderize the meat. Mojo sauce perfectly balances sweet and tart flavors, hitting the trifecta of citrus notes with orange, lime, and lime juice.

Our Cuban Mojo Carnitas recipe can be made in a slow cooker, a pressure cooker, or even in the oven for fall-off-the-bone tender meat. This recipe takes time so for best results marinate the night before and slow cook the meat the next day. For an authentic Mexican carnitas texture, pan fry the shredded pork (after it's cooked) in its own grease to give it a crispy crunch, and to render out some of the fat. Our Cuban Mojo spice blend is a perfect starter spice for making the Mojo marinade to use on pork, chicken, fish, or shrimp. You can also use the marinade as a dressing on salads or any vegan 'buddha bowl'. Try marinating sliced tofu in the Mojo marinade and grill it for a smoky, citrus taste!

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pound boneless pork shoulder or pork butt

  • 2 Tbsp Piquant Post Cuban Mojo spice blend

  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 1 Tbsp orange zest

  • 1/2 cup lime juice (4-5 limes)

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (2 lemons)

  • 1/2 cup orange juice (1-2 oranges)

  • 1 tsp salt (optional)

Notes

The key step to getting  authentic crispy Mexican-style carnitas is to pan fry the pork after cooking and pulling. Use some of the juices from the slow cooker or dutch oven to cook the pulled pork in a skillet to achieve the perfect crispy texture! 

The best cut of pork for carnitas is boneless, skinless pork shoulder (aka Boston butt or pork butt).

The marinade (all ingredients except pork in this recipe) is known in Cuba as ‘Mojo Criollo’. See below for lots of other ideas for how to use this in other dishes or search online.

Adjust the number of cloves of raw garlic to taste, especially if using the marinade (Mojo Criollo) as a dressing or sauce.

Use a food processor for the fastest marinade prep. If you don’t have a food processor, use a chef knife to finely chop the garlic, mint, and cilantro. 

If you can find Caribbean sour oranges, definitely use them for the most authentic taste. But fresh orange and lime juice work great to achieve the sweet sour combo.

Optional ingredients add a little character and flavor but don’t sweat it if you don’t have them.

Instructions

First, slice pork shoulder into four large chunks, and set at the bottom of a slow cooker or pressure cooker (see our digital recipe on our website for stove top recipe instructions or alternative recipes).

Next, add remaining ingredients to a mixing bowl, and stir to make the marinade. Pour the marinade over the pork, and add 1 cup of water.

If using a slow cooker: Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours. If using a pressure cooker: Cover and cook on High Pressure for 40 minutes.

When pork is done cooking it will be tender and easily shred. Finally, on a large cutting board, shred pork apart with two forks. Serve hot with white rice, tortillas, or with a side salad incorporating citrus.

Alternatives & Substitutions

  • We get it. This recipe for Cuban Mojo Carnitas takes a long time. The slow cooker makes easy work, but if you don't have a slow cooker, try this stovetop carnitas recipe (dutch oven or soup pot). 

  • Our Cuban Mojo spice blend is the easiest starter kit for making a ‘Mojo Criollo’, the essential  Cuban citrus-garlic marinade/dressing. This Mojo Criollo marinade is so versatile and can be used any number of ways, including directly as a salad dressing or dipping sauce. Add 1/4 cup chopped mint to the marinade for more mint flavor.

  • Don’t eat pork? Try the Mojo Criollo marinade with chicken. Roast in a deep walled oven-roasting pan and try basting the chicken as you roast it.

  • Need a slightly faster cooking recipe with similar taste profile? Try our Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork recipe.

  • Marinate veggies in the mojo and oven-roast, using the marinade as a dipping sauce!

  • Marinate fish filets and then pan or oven roast. Or try making a Mojo Shrimp recipe.

  • If you’re using the marinade directly as a dressing, adjust the marinade recipe to scale for the amount you want to use in the next 24-48 hours for max freshness. Add fresh, finely chopped mint leaves to the dressing for a more minty taste. Also, you may want to adjust the amount of raw garlic to your taste. We like to use jarred minced garlic in dressing as it is milder than raw minced garlic.

  • Vegetarians/Vegans: there are tons of ways to use the mojo criollo marinade beyond a salad. Try marinating tofu steaks then oven-roasting for a Cuban Mojo Burrito bowl.

  • Or, make savory Mojo Roasted Portobello Steaks. Or, toss the marinade with stir-fried veggies for a Mojo Stir-Fry! 

  • Be sure to leave comments and feedback on your meals and experiments in the comments for others to read.

  • Post pictures of your masterpiece meal on social media and tag us. We repost!

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