Cuban Mojo (Cuban Hot Sauce base)

The Ultimate Authentic Cuban Mojo (Marinade) for Mouthwatering Lechon Asado

If you're a fan of Cuban cuisine, you know that lechon asado (roast pork) is the crown jewel, and no lechon asado is complete without the iconic Cuban mojo marinade. This zesty, garlicky marinade is the key to achieving that succulent, flavorful roast pork that's sure to make your taste buds dance.

In this blog post, we'll dive into the authentic recipe for Cuban mojo marinade and explore how to create the perfect lechon asado that will transport you straight to the vibrant streets of Havana.

What is Cuban Mojo Marinade?

Cuban mojo marinade is a classic blend of garlic, sour orange juice (naranja agria), olive oil, and aromatic spices like oregano. This marinade not only infuses the meat with incredible flavors but also helps tenderize it, ensuring a juicy and delicious lechon asado.

Ingredients for Authentic Cuban Mojo Marinade:

  • Garlic cloves (lots of them!)
  • Salt
  • Dried oregano
  • Sour orange juice (or a mixture of orange, lemon, and lime juices)
  • Onion (minced)
  • Spanish olive oil

Using a mortar and pestle or a blender, mash the garlic cloves with salt and oregano into a paste. For every 10 garlic cloves, use 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of oregano.

Transfer the garlic paste to a separate bowl and continue this process until all the garlic cloves are mashed.

Stir in the sour orange juice (or the orange-lemon-lime juice mixture if using that instead). For a whole pig, use about 1 quart (4 cups) of sour orange juice for 4-5 heads of garlic. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

The Star Ingredient: Sour Orange Juice

One of the key ingredients that sets Cuban mojo marinade apart is the use of sour orange juice (naranja agria). This unique citrus fruit imparts a distinct tanginess and slightly bitter flavor that is essential to the marinade's authentic taste. If you can't find sour oranges, you can substitute with a mixture of orange, lemon, and lime juices to mimic the flavor profile.

Marinating the Lechon Asado

Once you've prepared the mojo marinade, it's time to get your pork shoulder or leg ready for marinating. Place the meat in a large, non-reactive container or resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over it, ensuring it's evenly coated. Let it marinate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours, turning the meat occasionally for even distribution of the flavors.

Cooking the Lechon Asado

  1. After marinating, remove the pork from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels.
  2. Reserve the marinade for basting or serving as a dipping sauce.
  3. Roast or grill the lechon asado according to your preferred method, basting it occasionally with the reserved mojo marinade until the meat is cooked through and develops a crispy, golden-brown skin.

Serving Suggestions

Lechon asado is a beloved Cuban dish that can be enjoyed in various ways. Serve it as the centerpiece of a Cuban-style feast, accompanied by rice, black beans, plantains, and a refreshing mojito. You can also use the leftover mojo marinade as a dipping sauce or drizzle it over the roasted pork for an extra flavor punch.

Experience the Authentic Flavors of Cuba

With this authentic Cuban mojo marinade recipe, you can recreate the vibrant flavors of Havana right in your own kitchen. Impress your guests with a mouthwatering lechon asado that will transport them to the heart of Cuban culinary traditions. Buen provecho! ( Enjoy your meal!)

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