Cuban-style pork is marinated in a garlic citrus mojo sauce with fresh herbs. Authentically it is slow roasted and locally grown sour oranges are used for the citrus, but for simplicity sake, I cook mine in the instant pot using the slow cooker feature. The sauce uses a combination of oranges and limes to “replicate” the sour orange flavor. Though we are taking different steps, it still produces flavorful, succulent meat.
This recipe is easy to make, but the longer you marinade it the better results are. Usually 24-48 hours works perfectly. It makes amazing tacos and the best part is you can use the leftovers to make Cuban Sliders.
After cooking, to mimic the roasting, I transfer the meat into a large foil pan (for easy clean up) and shred then broil. Broiling makes it just a little bit crispy. The perfect balance of flavors and textures. Tender and juicy pork, with bits of crunch in each bite.
This is my version of an incredibly delicious Cuban pork and I think you’ll make it again and again.
What You’ll Need:
6 qt. Instant Pot/Slow Cooker- I use my Instant Pot, they are the best. I love it so much that I just might have one in each size… it truly does make the most tender shredded meats. You can pressure cook on HIGH for 45 minutes with a natural release or slow cook for 8-10 hours.
If I have the time, I prefer slow cooking. It does have more flavor. However both still produce amazing results.
8 cup Food Processor- Toss all of your ingredients in the food processor and blend until all the herbs, garlic, and jalapeno are finely chopped.
3-4 lb. Boneless Pork Shoulder- When you cut it into 4 to 6 large pieces, you can trim the excess fat. If not, it should fall off very easily after it is done cooking.
Foil Baking Pan- (optional) After the pork has cooked, I transfer it to a disposable foil pan and pop it under the broiler for a little crisp around the edges. This makes clean up easier and serving too. Perfect for a taco bar, where everyone can serve themselves assembly line style.
Oranges- You will need the juice and zest of two large oranges. Roughly 3/4 cup of juice and 1 tablespoon of zest.
TIP: You can substitute the orange with a cup of ripe pineapple just like I do with my Instant Pot Al Pastor Tacos. The fresh fruit is a great swap for both the juice and zest of the orange.
Limes- You will need the juice of four limes, roughly 1/2 cup. Adding lime provides the acid in the marinade and mimics the flavors of the traditional sour orange when combined with the much sweeter orange juice or pineapple fruit.
Fresh Cilantro- Trim the ends off of one bunch of cilantro. It will give you about 1 cup.
Fresh Oregano– I find fresh oregano in the produce section of my grocery store. Remove the leaves from the stem. If you don’t have fresh you can use 1 teaspoon of dried oregano. Fresh is best but don’t let it stop you from trying this recipe.
Fresh Mint– I love to have a mint plant in my kitchen and was inspired by that to add it in to my marinade. I was surprised at how well it worked. Remove the leaves from the stem so there is not any bitterness. I used 4 large stems, which gave me about a 1/4 cup.
Garlic Cloves– It takes about 7-8 cloves of garlic. That’s a lot. I know. If any of you are like me and chopping garlic is not your favorite thing to do then try this method. Peel the garlic and smash them all with the side of the knife. Smashing them makes it easier to chop. If you don’t have fresh garlic, 1 tablespoon of granulated (not powdered) garlic does work.
Fresh Jalapenos– This sauce needed a little kick so for a touch of heat, you can use 1-2 jalapenos, deseeded. The heat can easily be adjusted here, though I don’t feel that this is spicy dish even with 2 peppers.
Olive Oil– You aren’t using a lot. You can use any neutral oil that you have, such as avocado or vegetable.
Tortillas- Use any tortillas you like. They all work.
Garnishes- Avocado, cilantro, chili flakes, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Finishing these off with a dash of good salt REALLY brings out the flavors. If you can please use the flaked sea salt. Trust me, these garnishes are DELICIOUS!
If you try these tacos or any of my other recipes tag me on Instagram @joymakersandco, I’d love to see what you make!
Instant Pot Cuban-Style Pork Tacos
- 1 Electric Pressure Cooker/Slow Cooker 6 quart
- 1 Food Processor 8 cup
- 3-4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, fat trimmed optional
- 2 large oranges, juiced (about 3/4 cup) (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 4 large limes, juiced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup olive oil or neutral oil
- 1-2 jalapenos, deseeded, roughly chopped
- 7-8 garlic cloves, smashed & roughly chopped (see notes)
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, about 1 cup, ends trimmed, & roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, or 1 teaspoon of dried oregano (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Garnishes & Fixings:
- corn or flour tortillas
- diced avocado
- chopped fresh cilantro
- flaked sea salt
- korean chili flakes or regular chili flakes
- Trim the excess fat off of the pork if you wish and cut into 4-6 large chunks. Place the meat into a zipper bag and set aside.
- Toss the orange juice, zest, lime juice, oil, garlic, jalapeno, and herbs into the food processor and pulse/blend until smooth. You will still see the herbs, as long as the marinade has no large pieces of garlic & jalapeno, it is done.
- Pour the marinade into the bag with the pork, push as much air out as you can and seal.
- Refrigerate for 24-48 hours. 48 hours is best.
- When you are ready to cook, toss all the pork and liquid into the bowl of your pressure cooker or crockpot. Slow cook on HIGH for 8-10 hours OR pressure cook on HIGH for 45, then natural release for at least 20 minutes. (see notes below)
- After it is done cooking, take the pork out (removing excess fat) and place into a large foil pan. Pre-heat your broiler and broil for about 3-5 minutes, keeping an eye on it to prevent burning. The goal here is to add a little crispiness to the tender meat to recreate some of that roast flavor that can be found in traditional Cuban Pork.
- Remove from the broiler and give it a stir.
- Serve on warm tortillas topped with diced avocado, chopped fresh cilantro, and a sprinkle of chili flakes and sea salt flakes.
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