Indulge in the Deliciousness of Cuban-Style Roast Pork

As you know, food has the power to transport us to another place and time. Imagine yourself in the vibrant streets of Havana, surrounded by the sounds of salsa music and the smell of roasting pork. This recipe for roast pork Cuban style (Lechon Asado) captures the essence of traditional Cuban cuisine and will transport you directly to the heart of the culture.

Lechon Asado is a dish that has been passed down through generations in Cuba, and it is a centerpiece of any celebration or gathering. The process of slow-roasting the pork results in meat that is tender and juicy, with a crisp outer layer that packs a punch of flavor.

I have had the pleasure of perfecting this recipe through years of practice and experimentation, always aiming to achieve an authentic taste while adding my own personal touch.

With this recipe, I invite you to join me on a culinary journey. Whether you are hosting a festive gathering or simply craving something savory and comforting, this roast pork Cuban style will satisfy your senses and leave you wanting more. So come with me as we delve into the world of traditional Cuban cuisine, one delicious bite at a time.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Roast Pork Cuban Style (Lechon Asado)
Roast Pork Cuban Style (Lechon Asado)

Imagine sitting at a dinner table with your family, the aroma of roasted pork filling the room. As you take your first bite of the tender and juicy meat, you close your eyes and savor its flavor. This is what you can expect from this recipe for Cuban style roast pork, also known as “Lechon Asado.”

If you’re a fan of bold and flavorful dishes, then you’ll love this recipe. It’s a perfect blend of sour orange juice, garlic, oregano, and cumin that will leave your taste buds dancing. The slow roasting process ensures that the pork is melt-in-your-mouth tender, making it an excellent choice for family dinners or special occasions.

But what makes this dish truly unique is the Mojo sauce. Made with olive oil, fresh garlic cloves, and more sour orange juice, it adds an extra layer of depth to the flavor profile. The sauce not only complements the pork perfectly but also heightens the entire meal’s taste.

Furthermore, this recipe is versatile in how you serve it. It’s a great option for larger gatherings since it can feed many people at once. Pair it with a side of black beans and white rice to complete the traditional Cuban experience. Trust me; Your guests will be impressed with its super tasty flavor.

In short, this recipe combines bold flavors with a tender texture that makes for a dish that will leave you wanting more. Whether you’re looking to impress your guests at your next gathering or merely satisfy your cravings for Cuban cuisine, this Cuban-style roast pork recipe should be on your menu!

Ingredient List

 Get ready to embark on a delicious journey with this mouthwatering roast pork!
Get ready to embark on a delicious journey with this mouthwatering roast pork!

To make this Cuban-style roast pork, you’ll need:

For the Pork:

  • 1 (3-4 lb) Pork Shoulder (also known as pork butt)
  • 1 cup of Sour Orange Juice (or ¾ cup of orange juice plus ¼ cup of lime juice)
  • 10 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons of dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns

For the Mojo Sauce:

  • ¾ cup fresh orange juice
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 1 head of garlic, finely chopped or minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Make sure to have all these ingredients on hand before starting to cook. Don’t forget to also prepare your choice of side dish, such as a serving of black beans or rice.

The Recipe How-To

 Feel the heat and flavor of Cuba with each and every bite of our Lechon Asado.
Feel the heat and flavor of Cuba with each and every bite of our Lechon Asado.

Now comes the exciting part, the recipe itself! Follow my step-by-step guide to make the best Cuban style roast pork (Lechon Asado).


  • 3-4 lb pork shoulder
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Juice of sour orange or mixture of orange and lime juice (approx. 1 cup)
  • Mojo marinade:
  • 10 g ground cumin
  • 10 g dried oregano
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice of sour orange or mixture of orange and lime juice (approx. 1 cup)
  • Salt (1-2 tsp)
  • Black peppercorns (1 tsp)
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Step 1 – Marinate the Pork

  1. Trim pork shoulder of excess fat.
  2. With a sharp knife, pierce pork all over.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together mojo marinade until everything is well-combined.
  4. Add the seasoned-marinade to the pork and massage well to make sure it’s completely coated.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight in the fridge.

Step 2 – Preheat Oven and Prepare Pork for Cooking

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Remove pork from the fridge at least an hour before cooking in order to come up to room temperature.
  3. Transfer marinated pork into a roasting pan and discard any leftover marinade.
  4. Season with more salt on top of the pork shoulder.

Step 3 – Roast the Pork

  1. Place roasting pan with pork in the oven’s middle rack and roast for 2-3 hours or until thermometer reads 165°F to 180°F.
  2. Halfway through cooking, add onions and garlic cloves to the roasting pan.
  3. During the last 20 minutes of cooking, increase the temperature to 400°F to make the pork shoulder skin crispy.

Step 4 – Rest and Serve

  1. When done, remove the pork from the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
  2. Thinly slice or shred the pork and serve with mojo sauce and your choice of side dish, such as black beans or rice.

Your friends will surely be impressed with your skills in making a delicious slow-roasted Cuban style roast pork (Lechon Asado)!

Substitutions and Variations

 Allow your taste buds to savor the succulent and tender meat of this classic Cuban dish.
Allow your taste buds to savor the succulent and tender meat of this classic Cuban dish.

Now, let’s talk about how you can make some personal tweaks to this lechón asado recipe. While the traditional Cuban style roast pork is simply perfect on its own, it wouldn’t hurt to experiment with some modifications. So, here are some substitution and variation options that you might want to explore:

– Pork shoulder can be substituted for fresh ham or a whole pig roast if you’re making lechon asado for a larger group of people.

– If you don’t have sour oranges, use a mixture of 1/3 orange juice and 2/3 lime juice.

– If you prefer less garlic, reduce the number of garlic cloves in the mojo sauce recipe.

– For a healthier option, use a slow cooker instead of roasting the pork. This method ensures that the meat stays moist and tender.

– You can also try marinating your pork with a different combination of spices. For example, adding cumin to the marinade could give your pork an extra kick.

– A side dish that complements this Cuban-style roasted pork is black beans, so consider serving them together for an authentic Cuban meal experience.

Trying out these substitutions and variations will enable you to create your own version of the lechón asado recipe while still keeping its traditional flavors intact. Whatever way you choose to modify things up, remember that this dish is super tasty when marinated in sour orange garlic mojo sauce and roasted low and slow until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

Serving and Pairing

 You don't need to book a flight to Havana to experience authentic Cuban cuisine – just try this recipe.
You don’t need to book a flight to Havana to experience authentic Cuban cuisine – just try this recipe.

Imagine sinking your teeth into tender, juicy Cuban-style roast pork (Lechon Asado) with crispy skin and a bold, savory flavor. I mean, just the thought makes my mouth water! But what do you serve with this delicious dish to complement its flavors and textures?

Firstly, let’s talk about the sides. A traditional Cuban dish served with Lechon Asado is black beans and rice (Moros y Cristianos). The earthy flavors of the black beans and the spices infused in the rice are the perfect balance for the flavorful pork. You can also opt for sweet plantains (Maduros), Yuca con Mojo – boiled cassava with garlic sauce, or even a simple green salad to add a crisp bite to your meal.

Now let’s talk about drinks. The sourness of the mojo sauce pairs perfectly with a zesty Mojito or Cuba Libre made of rum, cola, and lime juice. If alcohol is not your thing, try pairing the dish with a tangy homemade lemonade or any citrus-based soda for a refreshing sip.

Finally, let’s talk about atmosphere. Lechon asado is often synonymous with family gatherings that celebrate special events such as birthdays or religious holidays. Therefore, it is better enjoyed surrounded by loved ones and good music playing in the background.

In summary, when it comes to serving and pairing Lechon Asado, it is all about complementing its bold flavors and setting the right mood for your meal. So grab your closest friends and family, put on some lively music and enjoy this authentic Cuban-style roast pork with its perfect companions – Mojos sauce, black beans and rice with some refreshing drinks by your side.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 The crispy skin and juicy meat will have you craving this dish more and more.
The crispy skin and juicy meat will have you craving this dish more and more.

I’ll tell you something, my friends: roasting a lechon asado is an investment in time and energy. You don’t want all of that effort to go to waste! If you have leftovers of this mouth-watering Cuban-style roast pork, it’s important to handle them properly so that they stay fresh and delicious.

First off, let me tell you that this recipe is incredibly versatile. You can certainly make it ahead of time, and even freeze it for later use. The key is to store the meat with its juices, which will help keep it moist and tender. I suggest storing the cooked pork in an airtight container or freezer bag with some of the mojo sauce so that it doesn’t dry out.

If you plan to serve the roast pork later in the week, you can store it in the refrigerator for up to four days. When reheating, avoid microwaving as it can make the meat dry and tough. Instead, gently reheat the pork in a 300-degree oven for about 10-15 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Alternatively, you can also freeze the pork for up to two months. Before freezing, make sure the meat has cooled completely before transferring it to freezer-safe containers. Consider dividing the roast into smaller portions so that you can defrost only what you need. When reheating frozen lechon asado, be sure to thaw it slowly in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

This way, you can enjoy your delicious and sumptuous roast pork anytime you want without worrying about its freshness or quality!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Our recipe combines traditional and modern techniques to ensure the perfect balance of flavor and texture.
Our recipe combines traditional and modern techniques to ensure the perfect balance of flavor and texture.

As a chef, I have learned through my experience that some simple tips can make a great difference when it comes to achieving the perfect roast pork Cuban style (Lechon Asado).

1. Properly Marinate: The marination process is crucial when it comes to developing flavor, tenderizing meat, and sealing in moisture. Make sure to marinate your pork shoulder with the traditional Cuban mojo sauce at least 24 hours before roasting it. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty and massage the marinade into the meat, making sure it’s evenly coated.

2. Prepare the Meat: Before placing your pork in the oven, use a sharp knife to score the skin deeply, making diamond shapes. This will help the fat to render and create a crispy and flavorful skin. To ensure even cooking throughout, use kitchen twine to tie your roast together tightly.

3. Slow Roast: Lechon Asado requires low and slow cooking for several hours until it becomes meltingly tender. Set your oven at 225-250 degrees F and cook for 4 -5 hours, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the pork shoulder reads 190-200 degrees F.

4. Baste Frequently: While roasting, baste your roast pork every hour with its juices and marinade. This enhances flavor and keeps it moist.

5. Rest Your Meat: After removing from the oven, let the pork shoulder rest for at least 20 minutes before carving into it. This will allow the juices to redistribute into the meat and keep it juicy.

By following these tips for perfect results, you’ll be sure to have a succulent roast pork Cuban style that will be perfect not only for entertaining but also as a comfort food on lazy weekends. You won’t resist this super tasty sour orange-garlic mojo flavor that characterizes the traditional Cuban dish!


Now that we’ve covered the recipe in detail, it’s time to answer some common questions about this delicious Roast Pork Cuban Style recipe. Let’s dive into the frequently asked questions and get all the answers you need to ensure that your pork roast comes out perfectly every time!

What is lechon asado Cuban?

Lechon asado in Cuban cuisine is made by marinating pork meat in a tangy mojo marinade. This marinade features sour oranges as the key ingredient, with garlic, oregano, and cumin added for flavor. The traditional cooking method involves slow-roasting a young pig in a fire pit.

What is Cuban pig roast called?

Lechon is a beloved pork dish in Cuba, where it’s marinated in a tangy garlic-citrus sauce called mojo and roasted to perfection. The pork can be cooked in a variety of ways, from a pit or outdoor roasting box to a conventional oven or barbecue grill. Whether served as a whole pig or a smaller cut, lechon is a staple of Cuban cuisine.

Is lechon asado the same as pernil?

In this recipe article, I will be sharing with you the differences between three cuts of pork commonly used in Brazilian and American cuisine. One is the Lechón asado, which refers to a pork roast or a suckling pig roast, depending on the preparation method. Another one is Pierna, which is the hind leg of a pig, often called the leg of ham or fresh ham in English. Lastly, there is Pernil, which comes from the front leg and is usually referred to as pork shoulder. Knowing these distinctions will be essential in preparing a delicious and succulent pork dish.

What side dish goes with lechon asado?

Pairing the perfect side dishes with lechon asado is a crucial aspect of experiencing its true flavors. In Cuban cuisine, it is customary to complement this roasted pork dish with either congri rice made with black beans or Cuban black beans served alongside white rice. Additionally, the perfect accompaniment comes in the form of boiled yuca, drenched in onions and wonderfully seasoned mojo sauce.

Bottom Line


In conclusion, this roast pork Cuban style recipe is a true culinary delight that will leave your taste buds begging for more. Whether it’s for a special occasion or simply a Sunday supper with the family, the lechon asado recipe is perfect.

If you want to bring a little Cuban flavor into your home, there is no better way than by making this dish. It’s packed with bold and aromatic flavors from the marinated mojo of sour oranges, garlic, oregano, and cumin that is sure to satisfy any palate.

So, give yourself the opportunity to indulge in the traditional Cuban cuisine experience with the lechon asado recipe. You won’t regret it!

Don’t be intimidated by the complexity of this recipe – once you get going, it’s easy to prepare. With a few tips and tricks, substitutions or variations listed above – you will end up with tender and juicy meat that has been slow-roasted to perfection.

Finally, I recommend pairing this delicious pork roast with some black beans or fresh vegetables on the side for a complete nutritious meal. Don’t forget about serving it with traditional Cuba-style rice and beans that will take your food experience to another level!

So go ahead and give this lechon asado Cuban-style recipe a try; you may discover a new love for cooking and satisfy your hunger at the same time.

Roast Pork Cuban Style (Lechon Asado)

Roast Pork Cuban Style (Lechon Asado) Recipe

Barbara and Kevin brought this for dinner to Family Promise with black beans, rice and plantains (baked) YUM!!! I had to have the recipe. It come from Three Guys From Miami, who have published cookbooks and are well known. There were other roast pork recipes here, but NOT this one. It is SOOOOOO good. You can cook this in the oven, on the grill, on the stove or in the crockpot.
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 7 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Cuban
Calories 480.8 kcal


  • 6 lbs pork shoulder (butt)
  • 20 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 cups sour orange juice (If NO sour orange juice use 2 parts orange to 1 part lemon and 1 part lime)
  • 1 cup onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil


  • Mash the garlic, salt, and peppercorns together with a mortar and pestle.
  • Add dried oregano, onion, and the sour orange to make a mash – mix thoroughly.
  • Heat the olive oil in a 2-quart saucepan until hot, but NOT deep frying hot! We're looking for something in the neighborhood of 220 degrees F. Remove the saucepan from the heat source. Carefully add the mash to the hot oil and whisk gently. Let cool.
  • Pierce the pork as many times as you can with a sharp knife or fork.
  • Pour garlic mixture (save a little for roasting) over pork, cover and let sit in refrigerator for 2-3 hours or preferably overnight.
  • OVEN.
  • To roast in the oven, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place the pork, fattest side up, in an open roasting pan. Place pan in oven and reduce temperature to 225 degrees F. Spoon extra marinade over the roast occasionally as it cooks. When to temp, immediately cover with foil and let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving. The roast will continue to cook after you remove it from the heat.
  • GRILL.
  • Use a covered grill, such as the Webber kettle or a covered gas grill. Bank the coals to each side, leaving an empty space beneath your ham. If using a gas grill, use front and rear burners only. The idea is to cook with indirect heat. You want a low heat.
  • Spoon extra marinade over the roast occasionally as it cooks. If not using a gas grill, add charcoal to the sides as needed to maintain roasting temperature. When to temp, immediately cover with foil and let rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving. The roast will continue to cook after you remove it from the heat.
  • Place ham in a large Dutch oven, or a covered stock pan. Add about one cup of marinade to the pan. Bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to low, cover and cook until completely done. Add additional marinade as needed to keep at least one inch of liquid in bottom of pan so the roast will not burn.
  • All methods internal temp 195F to pull with fork OR 170F to slice. The time of 7 yours is an estimate. Could be less, could be more.
  • Servings based on the size of your ham. Allow about 1/4 to 1/2 pound per person, depending on side dishes.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 152gCalories: 480.8kcalCarbohydrates: 3.8gProtein: 23.8gFat: 40.8gSaturated Fat: 10.7gCholesterol: 96.6mgSodium: 322.4mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 1.9g
Keyword For Large Groups, Very Low Carbs
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Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.