Lechon, Cuban/Puerto Rican Roast Pork; Recipe


This recipe is dedicated to my good friends Rick Garcia who took me to my first Cuban restaurant (Ambassador on Ashland Ave) and Julian “Jumpin Perez who’s family fed me very well and treated me like family.

Growing up in Chicago and having many Cuban and Puerto Rican friends I was fortunate to have been exposed to great Caribbean food. Arroz con pollo, arroz con gondules, pasteles, relleno de papa (papa relleno for Cubans) morcilla, alcapurrias and of course the grand daddy of the them all…. Lechon! I remember driving to  North Ave to Sabor Latino for a hunk of Lechon served in foil and a Coco Rico soda. I have found nothing in Cincinnati like Sabor Latino but thankfully I can do Lechon myself. This recipe is great for holidays and special occasions. The finished Lechon is decadent and not healthy at all but… sometimes we need a little pork fat in our lives  to make us feel good!

I made this for some coworkers and they loved it. Not bad for a White Guy!


1 Pork shoulder 6-8 pounds

2 Medium onions

3 Cups sour orange juice or 2 cups orange juice and 1 cup lime juice

2 Cups olive oil

30 cloves of garlic

2 Tbsp oregano

2-3 Tsp salt

2 1/2 Tsp cracked peppercorns

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Juice the sour oranges through a strainer until you have 3 cups of juice. Combine onions, garlic, oregano salt and pepper in a food processor or large blender. Mix until you achieve a soupy mixture. Pour contents into a bowl and combine with the sour orange juice. In a large skillet or sauce pan heat olive oil to no more than 220-230 degrees. Add your mixture to the hot oil and immediately remove from heat whisking constantly for a couple minutes.

Important Tips: Do not add mixture to oil if it’s hotter than 230 degrees; this could be dangerous causing oil to splatter and burn you severely.

Do not cover roast with hot liquid; let the liquid cool completely or the liquid will sear the outside layer making it hard for the marinade to penetrate.

Prepare the roast by inserting a knife into the roast all over so the liquid can penetrate; 20-30 times. Place the pork shoulder in a large bowl with high sides. Pour cooled liquid over the pork shoulder and cover with lid or foil. The marinade should completely cover the pork Shoulder. Let pork should marinate in the refrigerator over night. The following morning remove the roast from the liquid and let come to room temperature for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees:

Place pork shoulder in a shallow roasting pan fat side up; a disposable foil pan is not a bad idea. Put the Pork shoulder in the oven uncovered and immediately reduce heat to 220 degrees. Cook the pork shoulder until the internal temperature is 200 basting with the reserved marinade every 2 hours. A 6-8 pound shoulder can take up to 9 hours. When the internal temperature has reached 190-200 degrees test for tenderness. We are looking for the pork shoulder to be very tender; easily torn with fork or fingers. Don’t get hung up on cooking time, it’s done when it’s done! Toward the end I like to cut the Shoulder into chunks and raise my heat to 400 for 15-20 minutes to crisp it up. Taste for salt and add more at this point. This dish is supposed to be somewhat salty. Make sure the chunks get to soak up the juices on the bottom of the pan. Serve with cold coconut soda (Coco Rico) or some ice cold beer. Maybe an IPA or Left Hand Sawtooth Ale.

As a side dish try my Black Beans and Rice Recipe


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One thought on “Lechon, Cuban/Puerto Rican Roast Pork; Recipe

  1. Rose Finocchio-Vizcarrondo December 29, 2013 at 8:56 pm Reply

    That lechon looks delicious!! I’m keeping your recipe.

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