I remember the first time I tried Cuban food. It was at least 20 years ago and I was visiting my friend in Florida. She took me to an amazing local Cuban restaurant, and as I devoured dish after dish all I could think was where have you been all my life? I really went crazy for the lechon asado. The citrusy, garlicky chunks of meat candy were just too much for me to handle. I knew then I must learn how to make it at home. And so I did. And the rest, as they say, is history.
This recipe is one of the easiest recipes on my blog, but is also one of the tastiest. While it’s not totally the same as roasting an entire pig for lechon asado, the slow cooker method produces a truly delicious and tender lechon asado. In order to make it a bit more authentically browned and caramelized, it’s a must that you cook it in the oven for a few minutes before serving. Whatever you do, do not skip this step because it’s what makes this pork extra special.
2-3 lbs. pork shoulder or tenderloin
8 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 c. orange juice
Juice from 2 limes
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 tsp. oregano
2 bay leaves
⅓ c. olive oil
Salt and pepper
Place all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low for 8-9 hours, or until the pork is tender and can easily be shredded with a fork.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cook the pork for 5-10 minutes, or until it gets a caramelized, crispy layer on top. Don’t be tempted to skip this step! Remove the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with rice and Cuban black beans.