My Slow-Cooker Cuban Pork Roast Recipe

I know this is a weird post for Medium

My quarantine version of Slow-cooked Cuban Pork Roast over pepper jack grits. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Yes, this recipe is best done in an actual oven, the roast cared for all day. I don't have that kind of time and so it is the slow-cooker pour moi et les miens. It is still a big project, but a labor of love for me and I cook these regularly because they are delicous served a thousand different ways. **Also, Spotify has some crazy on-time, Cuban music playlists to listen to while you cook, which I do on the regular. It is impossible to be in a foul mood and NOT shake your toosh while the music fills your kitchen and your soul.

** I eyeball everything and cook by the seat of my pants, so this recipe really reflects that casual style that results in some of the best food you'll ever eat.

SLOW-COOKER CUBAN PORK

INGREDIENTS:

  1. 7 lb pork shoulder roast
  2. 2 C Orange Juice
  3. 1–1.5 C Lime juice from fresh-squeezed limes
  4. 10 garlic cloves, peeled
  5. 6 garlic cloves, diced
  6. Flour
  7. Onion powder (I like the super-pulverized onion powder in those big cartons from Costco or Sam’s)
  8. Garlic powder.
  9. Seasonings w/ kick (I love Mexene Chili powder, Trader Joe’s Chili Powder w/ Lime or Tony Cachere’s or Sylvia’s. Yes, I do add a good but of Cajun season to my Cuban).
  10. Savory seasonings: those mixed seasonings w/ garlic powder, onion powder and herbs — Trader Joe’s has them. Everyone has them. I have a bunch and use them all. I love Bohio’s Adobo Criollo. I also get them from local restaurants, so ask your fave places if they sell the seasoned salt they use.
  11. 3 tbs oil to cook in. I like avocado oil bc of the high smoke-point.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Take your pork roast out and let it sit on the counter and get closer to room temperature while you dice your garlic and prepare your OJ/lime mojo.
  • OJ/lime mojo: Mix your orange and lime juice. The amount doesn’t have to be exact and you can even add more than I suggested. Then add your diced garlic and add a good bit of all that season salt, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder. Mix well and set aside.
  • Cut slits all over the roast and tuck one garlic clove into each slit. It's the garlicky goodness in Cuban Food that makes it one of the best cuisines on the planet. So don't be shy with the cloves.
  • ** I slow-cook a lot and use the NINJA slow cooker, where the cooking vessel is nonstick, so I do the next steps in the Ninja. This is so I can brown meat in the same vessel as it will be slow-cooked in and you don't lose so much of the browning essence that makes a dish good enough to knock people out.
  • Season the pork in preparation to sear it. While you are seasoning the pork, warm your searing vessel — whether it is a pan on the stove or the slow cooker. Once the pan is warm, add your oil.
  • Seasoning the pork: remember you really want to be liberal with the seasonings, because you want this sucker to be flavorful. So, sprinkle the various seasoned salts on the pork, then whatever chili powder you've decided to use (don't use so much chili powder that it crowds out the tang of the citrus flavors that make this pork. This is easy to do). Then take the pulverized onion powder and give that a really good shake all over the pork. And then take your flour, give that a good dusting over the pork. Now massage all the seasonings and flour into that meat, so there's a really nice layer all over. Most of the time, I will do all sides except for the one face down. While I'm browning the other sides, I'll season that last side.
  • Once all sides of your pork roast are seared to a yummy-looking, golden brown, place your pork in the slow cooker, and pour the orange/lime juice mojo in.
  • Turn on the slow-cooker to low and cook the pork for at least eight hours.
  • Heat oven to 400°.
  • **I do baby my pork shoulder a little bit by basting it and flipping it halfway through. I generally start out with the fat side up.
  • Once the pork is cooked slow for eight hours — and sometimes I let it go longer for the bigger roasts — I shred the pork in the slow cooker. Then, I get a straining scooper and spoon the shredded pork onto a large cookie sheet. I spread out the pork and give it a more seasoning. This is where you're going to start tasting the pork as you go so that the finished product is what you want.
  • Place the cookie sheet of shredded pork into the oven. Every 10 to 15 minutes, turn the pork with some tongs so that it crisps up evenly. But don't overdo it because the pork can get so crispy that it is hard to chew.
  • If you want, take the leftover pork gravy from the slow cooker and pour it into a sauce pan. You can then season it and reduce it and use it as a super delish gravy. Or, you can set it aside and let it cool and freeze it and use it for other recipes. This gravy will taste so good, it is worth it's weight in gold.
  • Once the shredded pork has reached its desired crispiness, take it out and test it see if it needs more seasoning. Let it cool and then serve.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

This recipe will go along way and provide a lot of meat that can be served many different ways before it is all gone. Plus, it freezes very well so here are the various ways I serve it:

  • THIS PORK IS INSANE WITH A FRIED EGG. INSANE. My friend’s husband taught me that. You could do grits, seared tomatoes, and a fried egg. Shit. GREEN TOMATOES. You could go to town and lose your shit and die happy.
  • While the meat is cooking, I generally make a side of pickled onions. I cut a red onion in half and thinly slice it. I place it in a Storage container and sprinkle liberally with salt and then squeeze a bunch of lime juice on it. Then I shake it and put it in the fridge and take it out periodically and shake it. This can be done 45 minutes before serving or two days.and take it out periodically and shake it. This can be done 45 minutes before serving or two days. I do this all the time. With white onions and lemon juice for Mediterranean dishes. ALL THE TIME.
  • With chimichurri sauce. Mmmmmmmm.
  • With marinated tomatoes (especially if the weather is warmer). I like this Pioneer Woman recipe, but wayyyyyy cut back on the sugar, do not add the parsley or the basil and add thinly-sliced, inch-long red onions. I also use pomegranate vinegar or sherry vinegar — generally, a light, sweet red vinegar of some sort.
  • With Texas Caviar. (I’ll post my recipe below.)
  • Over a baked potato with the gravy.
Photo by hannah cauhepe on Unsplash

TEXAS CAVIAR:

• 1 can black beans, rinsed

Completely inappropriate Suburban Mom in Dallas, TX reclaiming her political power and sass after a decade in the Gulags of baby-raising. Cheers.

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