Slow-Cooked Cuban Pork: Part II, Day 3

For a brand new, printable version of this recipe that has all the steps included, click here!

“I meant what I said and I said what I meant.  An elephant’s faithful.  100%!” As promised yesterday,  I am back to show you how to shred that gorgeous slow-cooked Cuban Pork shoulder that should have chilled in your fridge overnight.  Of course, I didn’t forget the sauce or black beans, either, but I’ll post the recipe for spicy black beans later today.  I’m behind schedule.  Why you ask?

Monsieur Le Evil Genius experienced a set-back in his quest for world domination yesterday when his car broke down 1 hour and 25 minutes into his 1 hour and 30 minute commute.  Mercifully, he was within sight of his office’s parking lot and he worked with a man who had a winch.  (Not THAT kind of wench you gutter-brains…  I’m talking about the mechanical sort of winch that attaches to the front of a big ol’ truck.  A wench is…Never mind.)  He got the car to the parking lot, examined it and declared it unable to move until he could procure a fuel pump.  Being the cheapskates that we are, you could also insert the sub-clause “and replace it himself”.  ‘Cause we’ll be darned if we’ll pay someone to replace the fuel pump when Evil Genius can do it himself.  That’s just how we’re wired folks.  Compounding the inconvenience is the fact that our family vehicle, also known as “The Purple People-Eater” is up on ramps in the barn waiting for him to fix it.  And that all boils down to the fact that he had to crash in the city at his sister’s house last night.

This left me to attempt the night-time routine with our five little honyaks all by myself.  And it also left me without my usual evening companionship.  But perhaps the worst of all was that it left me to the remote control.  I am unaccustomed to unimpeded access to the remote control and I took advantage of it by watching scads of ridiculous reality television.  I planted my rear on the couch and watched “American Idol”, “Heroin Nation” (talk about depressing and disturbing), “Make Me a Supermodel” (A whole different kind of depressing and disturbing), and “The Chopping Block” (neither depressing nor disturbing, but would someone please tell Marco Pierre White to wear socks.  All those shots of his bare ankle bones made me cold.  I had to put on a sweater.) This convinces me it is a good thing that the remote control is usually attached to the hand of one of the possessors of XY chromosomes in this house.  My reality t.v. bender also left me behind schedule on laundry and blogging.  But back on the horse…

Let’s get some pork going here.  It does not depress me, disturb me or make me need to wear a sweater.  It makes me happy.  And it makes me forget, just for a moment, that both of my vehicles are out of commission and the dog, while enormous, is not big enough for me to saddle up and ride into town.

For a printer-friendly, photo-free version of this recipe, click here!

Cuban Pork and Sauce: Day 3

Ingredients:

  • Slow-cooked pork shoulder, thoroughly chilled
  • Cooking juices from slow-cooked pork shoulder
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried mustard powder
  • 2 drops liquid smoke, optional

Use a spoon to remove the congealed fat from around the pork shoulder.

And THIS is why we let it rest overnight in the fridge.  Look at all that fat!

And THIS is why we let it rest overnight in the fridge. Look at all that fat!

Just run your spoon around the edge and the cold fat should come away as easy as can be.

Just run your spoon around the edge and the cold fat should come away as easy as can be.

Discard the fat.

Ick.  Thankfully I'm not on some Napoleonic Era Man-of-War where I have to save this stuff.  Away with it!

Ick. Thankfully I'm not on some Napoleonic Era Man-of-War where I have to save this stuff. Away with it!

Transfer pork shoulder to a large cutting board, preferably one with a groove to catch juices.  Otherwise, keep the paper towels handy!

cubanporkdayii5

Let sit while attending to the pan juices.

Pour the cooking juices that surrounded the pork through a fine mesh strainer positioned over a saucepan.

cubanporkdayii6

Remove and discard any solids left in the strainer.

Add the lime juice, white wine vinegar, garlic, red pepper flakes, dried mustard powder and liquid smoke to the cooking juices.  Whisk until evenly combined.

Whisk!  Whisk like your life depends on it.  Or not.

Whisk! Whisk like your life depends on it. Or not.

Bring to a boil over medium high heat.

Take note of the level of liquid.  You're going to be reducing this by about 3/4 of it's volume.

Take note of the level of liquid. You're going to be reducing this by about 3/4 of it's volume.

Allow to boil (while working on shredding the pork) until reduced to about 1/4 of the starting volume.

Almost there...

Almost there...

THAT is what you're going for.  We're in business now.

THAT is what you're going for. We're in business now.

Set aside until pork is fully shredded.

Pull the bone out of the pork and discard.

cubanporkdayii-11

Scrape as much fat as you can from the outside of the pork shoulder.

Yes.  I am wearing rubber gloves.  I am thoroughly grossed out by cold, squishy cooked animal fat.  I am imperfect.

Yes. I am wearing rubber gloves. I am thoroughly grossed out by cold, squishy cooked animal fat. I am imperfect.

Throw away the fat or give it to your spoiled and lazy dogs. Pull large chunks of the shoulder apart.  It should naturally come apart at places where there is additional fat you can remove.

cubanporkdayii-15

Take as much of the fat out as you can without wasting meat.

cubanporkdayii-13

Using your hands -or two forks- shred the meat into small pieces.

cubanporkdayii-16

When you’ve shredded all the meat, you can leave it as is or chop through it quickly with a knife to ensure that you have small bite-sized pieces.  It depends on what you’ll do with the pork.  I usually run through it with the knife since I have so many little mouths eating it.

cubanporkdayii-18

When pork is fully shredded (and chopped, if desired) transfer to a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with sides.

cubanporkdayii-19

Pour the reduced pan juices over the pork and toss.

cubanporkdayii-22

Tightly cover the pan with foil.  If you plan on serving it immediately, put into a preheated 350ºF oven and heat for 25 minutes, or until hot all the way through.  If you are preparing this ahead of time you can either place the pan directly into the freezer or into the fridge.

To reheat from chilled:

Place, still covered in foil,  in a preheated 350ºF oven for 30 minutes, or until heated through.

To heat from frozen:

Place, still covered in foil, in a preheated 350ºF for 45 minutes, or until heated through.

We serve this on hot flour tortillas with FMC Mango Salsa (coming tomorrow!) and spicy black beans (coming later today!).

On deck for later today:  Spicy Black Beans

In the hole for Friday: FMC Mango Salsa

Comments

  1. says

    Holy moly. I’ve been meaning to make it over here to read about the pork and now I am so glad I did. I printed the recipe and also this page for the sauce. I am stoked!

    Off to read the black bean recipe.

    (and I hate congealed animal fat too… bring on the gloves)

  2. says

    Rebecca, I noticed while making my pork that the link to the printer-friendly version above actually links to the Day 1 recipe. FYI :)

    This was SO good with the FMC Salsa… but I think it was the salsa that made the difference. I’m not sure the flavor in the pork was worth all the time spent. Where did I go wrong? Did I pick out too much fat (I threw out a large yogurt-tub full for my 4 lb shoulder)? Should I have gotten a bone-in shoulder instead of boneless? Was I doomed by not having enough juice in the crockpot to reduce and bake with?

    • Rebecca says

      Hey Jeanne- I definitely would recommend using the bone-in shoulder next time. It adds moisture, flavor AND texture to the meat. The bone really turns this pork into the bees knees. As for picking out the fat? I practically take a scalpel to it, so I’d say the issue was more about the boneless shoulder than the fat. And if you’re up for it, jack up the garlic quantity for a more powerful flavor. I have been known to add a couple/three extra cloves beyond what I call for in the recipe. I like it garlicky!

      As for pan juices, I think that also goes back to the boneless vs. bone-in issue… If you feel inspired to try it again, let me know how it goes for you.

      …And I’m so glad you liked it with the salsa!

  3. Sandra says

    Ah, I’ve missed Cuban food so much since moving away from South Florida a few years ago. Although I can whip up a tasty dish of black beans with homemade sofrito and already have a favorite chicken marinade, I missed the flavor of many other dishes. When I read this recipe last month, it inspired me to go out and buy my very first crock-pot. I used the pork shoulder with bone and it came out great. Family loves it and with the super deals on pork lately, I’ve already made it two more times. Serving it tomorrow to folks who never had Cuban before. Thanks for sharing. Great job on presenting the recipe and I laughed out loud reading the stories.

  4. Dr Dan says

    I basically followed the day 2 recipe. For sure cooking this low and slow with the aromatics and OJ concentrate makes this a winner.

    We were looking to change it up to a comfort food category. So we took the shredded pork meat, incorporated some diced red skin potatoes and a veggie medley. Then put it into a pie crust, drizzled some gravy made from juices. Finally, sealed the pie crust, topped it with egg wash and baked for 35 minutes on 400.

    A home run of a meal not possible without this preparation of the pork roast.

  5. Lacey says

    OMG my husband and I love this recipe!! I made it about 2 weeks ago and he’s been begging me to make it since. I believe his exactwords were, “Can you make that pork stuff exactly like you did last time?” I’m currently making it againand it smells AMAZING! I just can’t decide what sides to put with it this time because last time I made pressed Cuban sandwiches out of it.

  6. Kaitlin says

    This recipe is amazing! I grew up in South Miami and love having pulled pork when I visit home. I had a Cuban babysitter (really, we considered her a surrogate grandmother!) and this recipe is spot on. Definately adding this one to my short list. =)

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