Oven roasted to pull apart tenderness, this Slow Roasted Cuban Pork Shoulder is the perfect weekend feast. I marinated the evening before in a quickly put together mix of lime, orange, garlic, some herbs and spices, all I had left to do on the day, was an optional quick chopping of veggies for gravy and to put the whole thing into the oven. Then forget about it for a few hours and do something for myself.
You’ll be left with incredibly tender and juicy pork, that you can eat on the day, say with Parmesan Crusted Potatoes, and Peach BBQ sauce, as I did. Or use it for all kinds of lovely leftover recipes I’ll be posting during the next few days.
Why You Want To Make This
Getting a huge pork shoulder from my trusted butcher, I decided to show you two ways of preparing it, followed by 4 ways to use it for meals in the days after.
First the Marinade, which is super quick to prepare from orange and lime juice and zest, garlic, oregano and cilantro, giving the meat a wonderful flavour. The marinade recipe came from Kathy McDaniel and her slow cooker pork.
Two Methods of Preparation
I’m not the biggest fan of meat in the slow cooker, as I find the sauce doesn’t cook down as it does in the oven or air fryer and I’m missing all the lovely crispy crackling and roasting flavour. So, for me it’s air fryer or oven anytime.
The difference here is in the texture of the meat you get in the end. While both the oven and air fryer version of Cuban pork shoulder have fantastic crispy crackling and flavourful meat, the air fryer roast is a bit firmer, can be sliced easily and very thinly, if you like. Which will come in handy later, in my Pork Banh Mi recipe and the Black Garlic Pork Ramen Bowl.
Slow Roasted in the Oven
The slow roasted oven version however, is pull apart tender, super soft and deeply aromatic, with a yummy gravy option. I used the Slow Roasted Cuban Pork Shoulder for my Cuban Pulled Pork Salad and the Healthy Leftover Pulled Pork Tacos. All of these recipes will be uploaded in the coming weeks, to give you an idea what you can do with one simple roast.
The method I used for the slow roasted version is from Jamie Olivers slow-roasted pork shoulder. Except he doesn’t marinate before, which was important to me, as I love the flavour it brings to the meat.
For the marinade zest and juice limes and oranges, roughly chop the cilantro and smash the garlic.
In a big container or large freezer bag, mix all of it with the spices and olive oil, seal and leave in the fridge, ideally overnight.
One important thing to note here: You only want the meat in the marinade, not the skin. Ideally that should remain fairly dry. So, what I did was get a large container and a freezer bag (to save cleaning and have something to seal it into), put the marinade into the bag, then laid the pork carefully into it, keeping the skin pointing up. That way, the marinade came up around the meat, but stayed clear of the top, which we later want nice and crispy, so soaking it would be counterproductive.
On the day you want to eat the Slow Roasted Cuban Pork Shoulder, pre-heat your oven to 425F/220C.
Take the meat out of the marinade about 1h before you want to start roasting and pat it dry. Salt the skin generously with kosher salt, rubbing it into the scored skin and let the skin dry while the meat comes to room temperature.
Put the meat, skin side up, into a large roasting tray and place in the hot oven for 30minutes, so the skin can start to crisp up.
After that time, lower the temperature to 325F/175C and cover the meat and tray with a layer of tin foil, so it can slowly roast without drying out. Leave in the oven for another 4.5h.
Keep an eye on it and possibly rotate once or twice if your oven cooks unevenly.
In the meantime, prepare the veggies for your gravy. Roughly chop carrots, onions, and celery. Break the garlic into cloves and smash them a bit with the flat side of a big knife. No need to peel. We will pass the grave through a sieve later.
After the time is up, take the pork out of the oven, take off the foil and place the piece of pork on a large plate for a moment.
Skim all but about 1 tbsp of the fat from the try and store it in a heat proof container. It’ll make the perfect fat for roast potatoes later.
Add all the veggies, herbs, stock and garlic to the tray, then put the pork on top. Place back into the oven without foil for another 1h, to let the veggies roast, brown a bit and the pork skin get really crispy and puffy. At this point your pork will be pull-apart tender.
Take out the pork, set it onto a plate and cover with tinfoil, to rest while you make the (optional) gravy.
For the gravy, remove as much fat as you can from the tray. Once that is done, pass the contents of the try through a sieve, pouring the liquids into a pot that you will use to reduce it a bit. Smash the veggies, to get every last drop of the flavourful juices. Discard the veggies.
On the hob on medium high heat, boil the gravy down to about half the volume. Taste it and see if it needs salt, pepper and maybe the above mentioned orange juice and maple syrup, to go with the Cuban marinade theme. I quite like some sweetness and acidity in my gravy, but I realise not everyone does. So, I left it optional.
In the pictures you see some potatoes on the side and a Peach BBQ Sauce with Single Malt. You can simply boil or roast some potatoes with this, maybe a green salad on the side and a bit of store bought BBQ sauce. Or you can wait a few days for me to post the remaining recipes from this series. 😉
I will update this post with the links as soon as they are up.
Due to the marinading process, Slow Roasted Cuban Pork Shoulder is ideal for meal prep. You do all the (rather minimal) work the day before and just throw it into the oven on the day for a few hours of pretty much unattended roasting, while you go about your day.
Leftovers from this can be used in a million ways. They make fantastic sandwiches, salad toppings, or just a reheated meal. They can be frozen too.
Looking for an equally impressive dessert? Try my Brown Sugar Pavlovas with Pistachio Protein Mousse and Strawberries.
Let me Know What You Think.
Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
What other recipes would you like to see?
If you enjoyed this recipe, please share. It helps me a lot. 🙂
Slow Roasted Cuban Pork Shoulder
- 4 lb pork shoulder on or off the bone. Either ask your butcher to score the skin for you or score it yourself.
- 2 tsp kosher salt for the marinade Plus more for the skin
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- Zest and Juice of 2 oranges
- Zest and juice of 2 limes
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
- 2 tsp Coriander, ground Alternatively cumin
- Gravy Ingredients (Optional):
- 3 medium carrots
- 2 celery sticks
- 2 red onions
- 1 bulb of garlic
- 2 bay leaves fresh or dry
- 600 ml stock. I used vegetable stock here.
- Zest and Juice of 1 orange (Optional)
- 2 tbsp maple syrup (Optional)
- Begin by preparing the marinade. Zest and juice the oranges and limes. Chop cilantro and smash the garlic cloves. In a large container or freezer bag, mix the zest, juice, cilantro, smashed garlic, kosher salt, ground black pepper, oregano, ground coriander (or cumin), and olive oil. Ensure the marinade is for the meat, not the skin, keeping the skin dry.
- Place the pork shoulder, whether on or off the bone, into the marinade. Seal the container or bag and refrigerate it overnight to infuse the flavors.
- On the day of cooking, preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Remove the marinated pork from the fridge about an hour before roasting. Pat the pork dry with paper towels and generously salt the scored skin with kosher salt. Let the skin dry while the pork comes to room temperature.
- Put the pork, skin side up, in a large roasting tray. Roast it in the preheated oven for 30 minutes to crisp up the skin.
- After 30 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 325°F (175°C). Cover the pork and tray with foil to prevent drying. Continue to roast for an additional 4.5 hours, checking and rotating as needed for even cooking.
- While the pork roasts, you can prepare the optional gravy. Roughly chop carrots, onions, and celery. Smash garlic cloves. After 4.5 hours of slow roasting, remove the pork from the oven and skim most of the fat from the tray, storing it for later use.
- Add the chopped vegetables, bay leaves, stock, and garlic to the tray. Place the pork on top and return it to the oven without foil for another 1 hour to allow the vegetables to roast and the pork skin to become crispy.
- After the final hour, remove the pork from the oven and place it on a plate. Cover it with foil and let it rest.
- Continuing with the gravy, remove excess fat from the tray. Pass the tray contents through a sieve into a pot to collect the flavorful liquid. Smash the vegetables to extract more flavor and discard the solids.
- On medium-high heat, boil the gravy down to about half its volume. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt, pepper, and optionally, orange juice and maple syrup for a Cuban marinade theme.
- And you are ready to serve your Slow Roasted Cuban Pork Shoulder in any way you enjoy. Pull off the bone, drizzle with gravy or BBQ sauce. Enjoy with potatoes and a light salad or on pulled pork sandwiches. It’ll be delicious either way.
Protein: Approximately 25-30 grams per serving
Fat: Approximately 13-15 grams per serving
Carbohydrates: Approximately 0 grams per serving (virtually no carbs)
Fiber: 0 grams
Sugars: 0 grams