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Cuban roast pork

    a good Creole mojo with garlic
    1 liter of bitter orange juice

Cuban roast pork is one of the specialties of the rebel Caribbean island and a symbol of the identity of the Cuban people.
Roast pork is a food with great tradition in Cuba, and it is the country's festive dish par excellence. In general, it is customary to eat it at family gatherings. It is during Christmas and New Year evenings that Cuban roast pork is most prepared, or during birthdays and weddings, or any other important event, especially in rural areas, and it would traditionally be accompanied by salads , congrí and yuca.
Every time there was an important family event, I remember my grandfather Ramón saying that we had to kill a pig to mark the moment, and then we would all participate in the slaughter of the animal, mobilized in its preparation, like a real party from dawn when the cries of the chosen pig woke us all up. It was up to us, children, to turn the spit and then have the right to tear off the crispy tail.
The amount of fat the piglet contains is very important to obtain a better roast. This depends on several factors such as the age, breed and sex of the animal, but the most important is the pig's diet throughout its life. There will always be less fat if the pig has been fed as naturally as possible and this is very appreciated.
In addition to large national pig breeding projects, huge pig farms that have thousands of heads of this small livestock for the country's food industry; It is very common to find small, independent pig breeders throughout Cuba. Not only in rural areas, but piglets are also found in yards and other urban spaces.
These small, private pig farms are often the main source of income for many Cuban families. Generally, the diet of these animals depends on the benevolent collection of leftovers from daily meals from neighbors, who thus consciously contribute to the production of the meat that they themselves will later consume. This guarantees an essentially natural food base and consequently a high quality of the meat obtained and better marketing.
In tourist areas with a high concentration of hotels, it is common to have tons of leftover food daily, which is collected by trucks and transported expressly to these state pig breeding centers. Ultimately, so much waste is still used in one way or another.
The meat that comes from pigs castrated at 30 days of birth and fattened in the last weeks before being slaughtered between 6 and 8 months of life, and which weighs between 90 and 120 kilograms, is generally the best quality on the Cuban market. , especially for a barbecue.
We cannot forget that in the pig everything is good, since nothing is thrown away, and this is one of the qualities of this breeding animal that has made it so popular among Cubans.
It is often said in Cuba that raising pigs at home guarantees fat and meat for cooking, in addition to bringing money into the family economy. This economic activity is illegal in the city for obvious health reasons. No one will ever say anything about it though. Even if sometimes the typical smells and noises can be disturbing, the neighbors prefer to support the secret affair in blatant complicity.
To prepare the Cuban roast pork then we only need the following ingredients to make a good Creole mojo with garlic, salt, 1 liter of bitter orange juice, oregano, cumin and pepper.
Optionally, you can add other aromatic herbs such as parsley, coriander and chives but this is not essential.
Preparation :
First, the meat must be completely marinated with mojo criollo, preferably the day before roasting, 12 to 24 hours in advance. This way the flavor will be more concentrated.
Finally, the piece is placed for grilling. As long as the pork cooks slowly over the coals, it should be basted with mojo criollo very often. It's a patient process that can take a minimum of 4-5 hours, depending on the weight of the piece, which is plenty of time to liven up the gathering with rum and beers.
Some chefs recommend sealing meat before grilling to maintain juicier meat in contrast to a nicely browned, naturally caramelized crust.
I don't think this is essential though because in personal family tradition such a thing has never been done and the roasts were all more memorable than the last.
We prefer to roast pork on a spit or on a grill with charcoal or firewood, but it is also very well cooked in a pan with all its juices or in a small oven.

Cuban roast pork
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