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Puerco Asado (Cuban Style Slow Roasted Pork)

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For the uninitiated, Puerco Asado is basically a Cuban BBQ pork. Not smoked, but cooked low and slow and served sliced, chopped or pulled like Southern Style barbeque pork. Often topped with a splash of Mojo sauce.

I am sub-titling this recipe “Tampa Style” because it tastes a lot like the Puerco Asado I used to enjoy when I lived there. A few of us from the old “Tampa Neighbor Newspaper” would take an long lunch at the Don Quixote Restaurant in Ybor City back in the early ‘80’s. Wonderful Puerco Asado or Arroz con Pollo with some Plantanos Fritos followed by a Café con Leche. Good times.


1 Pork roast (5 to 6 pound “Boston Butt”, aka “Bone-in 1/2 Pork Shoulder”)
8 cloves of Garlic peeled and quartered into slivers lengthwise
2 Cups of Orange Juice (good quality - not from concentrate)
1 Cup freshly squeezed Lime Juice
Zest of one Lime
1/4 cup stemmed and chopped fresh Oregano
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Rice Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Black pepper
1 teaspoon Salt (preferably “Plain” non-iodized salt, or sea salt)
1 large Sweet Onion sliced thin


Combine the orange juice, the lime juice and the lime zest in a sauce pan and bring to a boil and continue to boil until it is reduced by half. Keep an eye on it, as it may foam up and over as it boils. When it is reduced, remove from heat and allow to cool.

While the reduced juices are cooling, peel and sliver 8 or so cloves of garlic. With a sharp paring knife score the fat side of the pork roast down to the meat in about a 1in. grid. Then, take a narrow bladed knife and make holes about every 2 inches on all sides of the roast and insert a sliver of garlic in each hole. Continue until you run out of slivers of garlic. Make the holes deep enough so the garlic is completely embedded. (Coating your fingers with a little olive oil will help keep the garlic smell from lingering in your skin.) When you are finished, sprinkle all sides of the roast with salt, pepper and the dry oregano and drizzle with the olive oil.

To the cooled pan of juices, add the chopped fresh oregano, the cumin, and the rice wine vinegar and whisk together well.

Take half of the sliced onions and arrange in a single layer in the bottom of a glass baking dish and lay the roast on top of the onions. Pour the marinade over the roast and top with the remaining onions. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate on the refrigerator overnight - or at least eight hours. Turn the roast a couple of times while it is marinating. You may also simply place the roast, the onions and the marinade in a large freezer bag to marinate. It works just as well, and makes turning the roast in the marinade far easier.

When you are ready to roast, (remove roast from freezer bag, duh) turn roast so it is fat side up and spoon most of the onions to the top of the roast. Cover well with foil, or transfer to a covered roasting pan and bake for 5 to 6 hours at 275°F (135°C), turning the roast twice, once at the two-hour mark and again at four-hours. (This can also be cooked all day in a Crock Pot™ or double-wrapped well in foil and cooked off to one side on a gas grill)

Cook at this temperature until the meat just begins to shrink back on the shoulder blade bone and then reduce heat to 225°F and hold at this temp. until it is tender enough to pull apart very easily. Once the internal temperature is around 185°F (85°C) you should be able to pull the meat apart. If not, let it cook a that same temp until it does or slice it instead.

Serve topped with a little Mojo sauce, accompanied by some grilled Asparagus and a salad to make this a very satisfying and yet low-carb meal. Also delicious chilled and sliced thin for Cuban Sandwiches or on a toasted pita with a slice of Swiss cheese, a dab of mustard and topped with some lettuce, tomato and a touch of Mojo Sauce.

Tags: , , Cuban, , , , , , , , , , , , Spanish


5 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

C Fedore
Dec 5, 2008 1:52am [ 1 ]

Excellent recipe. Great flavor even though I cooked it in the crock pot.

Apr 9, 2010 4:11pm [ 2 ]

Will try this this weekend. Love Cuban style food.

Apr 12, 2010 9:40pm [ 3 ]

I am excited to try this! Sick of the regular blah pork seasonings.

I will try this in the crock pot too since I don’t have any decent sized deep vessels for the oven.

Dec 4, 2013 7:53am [ 4 ]

Thanks for sharing. I was looking for a good recipe for this Puerco Asado. I made the box so i will try to make it Cuban style.

Apr 9, 2015 9:55am [ 5 ]

Cooked in the oven in a glass-covered deep roasting pan. That pan makes any meat fall apart. By day two the marinade in the fridge had the house smelling like Ybor City in the 50’s and me wanting to dance and have a toast with sangria.

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