Most people are familiar with traditional American pulled-pork, otherwise known as Bar-b-que, but Cuban pulled-pork is less widely known in the states. Typically, you see Cuban pork in the delicious Cuban Sandwich, but it is also quite good in a Taco, or simply eaten with rice and beans.
I was first introduced to Cuban Pork at a local restaurant. They served the pork in soft flour tortillas, with pico de gallo, pickled onions, black beans, and rice. Delicious! Just like Bar-b-que, Cuban pork is usually made with a fatty cut of meat such as pork shoulder or pork butt. I make mine with Pork tenderloin because a few members of my family do not digest fats too well, plus it’s better for your heart!. With that said, the end outcome is tastier when using the fattier cut of meat!
Where Bar-b-que is smothered in sauce, Cuban pork gets a spice rub, and cooks in its own juices with added fresh-squeezed orange and lime juice. It’s ok to use bottled juice if you do not have fresh oranges and limes, but the flavor’s better when it’s fresh. The rub consists of salt, black pepper, cumin, and oregano. Fresh onion and garlic also add to the flavor nicely, and all of these flavors blend so well with the sweetness of pork!
This dish pairs nicely with rice and beans, and I love topping it with pickled red onions! The first time I saw that combo on a menu I thought it seemed like an odd pairing, but I couldn’t have been more wrong about the amazing taste of these contrasting flavors! Avocado, roasted peppers, and cilantro are all good additions to this dish.
Cuban Pork with Pickled Onions
- 2 Pork Tenderloins (Can use a fattier cut like shoulder or butt)
- Olive Oil to coat tenderloins
- 1/4 Cup Vidalia Onion rough chopped
- 4 Cloves Garlic diced
- 1/2 Cup Fresh squeezed Orange Juice (ok to use bottled)
- 1/2 Cup Fresh squeezed Lime juice (ok to use bottled)
- 1.5 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 2 tsp Oregano
- 3 tsp Cumin
- Pre-heat oven to 300' (275' if using convection)
- Juice the citrus
- Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl to make the rub
- Coat the tenderloins in olive oil and place them in a braising pan
- Cover the tenderloins in the rub
- Add the Citrus
- Sprinkle the onions and garlic all around the pan
- Cover the braising pan and slow-roast for 3 hours, basting 3-4 times while cooking to moisten the meat