A citrus based marinade adds flavor and tenderness to slow cooker Cuban pork. Change up your normal routine of pulled pork with this unique flavor combination.
Why you’ll love it: It’s a nice variation from the usual pulled pork and it makes fantastic Cuban sandwiches.
How long it takes: 15 minutes of prep, 8 hours to marinate, 6-10 hours to slow cook
Equipment you’ll need: slow cooker, large zip top bag
A nice long soak overnight in an easy-to-make marinade make this Cuban pork, aka Mojo pork, a winner. Slow cooked all day, it’s fall apart tender with lots of garlicky citrus flavor and juicy onions.
We love this tender pork served in a bowl with cilantro lime rice, black beans, and pico de gallo. Be sure to include a wedge of lime to squeeze over the contents of the bowl. Add fried plantains for a traditional Cuban dish.
But don’t stop there! Cuban pork is absolutely perfect for Cuban paninis, or Cubanos. Layered with sliced ham, dill pickles, mustard, and Swiss cheese, and pressed into a crispy, buttery panini sandwich, you’ll be glad you made a really big batch of pork.
Like any pulled pork, Cuban pork is wonderful piled on a bun or wrapped in a tortilla with lots of toppings, too. So versatile and delicious, you’ll find yourself turning to this easy recipe often. It’s perfect for game day or tailgate parties!
Not crazy about pork? Or maybe you don’t have all day to slow cook. Try one pan Cuban chicken and rice. The fresh pineapple salsa is so yummy! Actually the salsa is really good with this pulled pork, too.
About this recipe
The base of the marinade is freshly squeezed lime juice and orange juice. The acid from the citrus helps to tenderize the meat. Garlic, oregano, cumin and bay leaves give it plenty of traditional Cuban flavor. Marinating the pork overnight and slow cooking it for hours makes the meat so tender it will melt in your mouth.
Before adding the marinade, pierce the meat deeply in several places to allow the flavor to seep into the meat.
Put the whole business into a sturdy zip top bag and set the bag in a pan or dish in the fridge. You don’t want to take any chances of the raw meat dripping into your fridge and making a big mess!
In the morning, empty the contents of the bag into your crockpot, add a bunch of sliced onions on top, and get it cooking. Slow cook for ten to twelve hours on Low, or five to six hours on High.
When the pork is fall-apart tender, remove it from the slow cooker, shred it, and put it back into the pot to keep warm. The tender shredded meat is ready to add to whatever dish you’re preparing, whether it’s a bowl with rice and beans, or on sandwich, panini, or tortilla.
Look for the printable recipe card near the end of the post for the complete recipe containing measurements, instructions, and nutrition information.
What you’ll need
Boneless Pork Shoulder – Look for one that is about 3 pounds. If you can’t find boneless, bone-in will also work, you’ll just need to remove the bone when it has finished cooking.
Onion – Look for a nice big one! You’ll slice this and place it on top of the pork to flavor it as it cooks.
Freshly Squeezed Lime and Orange Juice – The citrus juices infuse the pork and give it incredible flavor.
Seasonings & Spices: You’ll need fresh garlic, dried oregano, ground cumin, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
This recipe is not spicy at all. If you’d like it to be spicier, add cayenne powder or red pepper flakes, or add hot sauce when it has finished cooking.
Despite their names, pork butt and pork shoulder both come from the shoulder region of the pig. Although they are slightly different, for this recipe, either type will work.
According to the USDA, you can marinate pork for 3-5 days, but we recommend sticking to 8-12 hours for this recipe.
YES! Oh yes, yum. After you pull the pork, place it on a sheet pan and broil until crispy. Or, you can heat it in a frying pan over high heat until crispy, stirring only once or twice. You may want to try my Instant Pot pork carnitas.
Make Cuban pork ahead of time, up to four days in advance. It will be ready to use for a variety of meals. Freeze it in serving size containers to use later.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Cuban pork will keep in the refrigerator for up to four days. After it’s cooled down a bit, refrigerate it in a tightly sealed container.
You can also freeze it for up to 3 months, or even more. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
Reheat slowly in a heavy pan on the stovetop or in your slow cooker until it’s heated through, adding a little chicken broth if it seems dry. To reheat individual-sized portions, you can use the microwave but it may dry out the meat slightly.
More great ways to cook pork
Whether it’s slow cooked, pressure cooked, or made in the oven, pork is always a good choice. Try:
- Instant Pot Pulled Pork (ready in one and a half hours, start to finish)
- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork with plum bourbon barbecue sauce
- Slow Cooker Pork Tacos
- Instant Pot Carnitas
- Mango Bourbon Pulled Pork (slow cooker!)
- Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Pork Loin with balsamic glaze
- Instant Pot Pork Loin Roast
- Breaded Air Fryer Pork Chops
- Breaded Pork Chops with Herbs and Parmesan
- ½ cup lime juice (from 3 limes)
- ¼ cup orange juice (from 1 orange)
- ¼ cup water
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder
- 1 large sliced onion
- For the marinade, combine lime juice, orange juice, water, garlic, oregano, salt, cumin, pepper, and bay leaves in a medium bowl. Pierce meat in several places and place in zip-top bag. Pour marinade over meat. Refrigerate overnight.
- Remove from fridge, put meat and marinade into crockpot; top with sliced onion.
- Cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours or on High for 5 to 6 hours.
- Discard bay leaves and remove meat. Using 2 forks, shred pork.
- Serve pork and onions on rice and black beans, if desired. The pork makes delicious Cuban panini sandwiches (see notes).
- Learn how to make Cuban sandwiches.
- Slow cooker pulled pork can be made up to four days in advance. After it’s cooled down a bit, refrigerate it in a tightly sealed container.
- You can also freeze it for up to 3 months, or even more. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
- Reheating Tips: Reheat slowly in a heavy pan on the stovetop or in your slow cooker until it’s heated through, adding a little chicken broth if it seems dry. To reheat individual-sized portions, you can use the microwave, but it may dry out the meat slightly.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.