Fall off the bone tender, this Cuban mojo smoked pork shoulder recipe is a crowd favorite.
I spent three years living in South Florida and have enjoyed my fair share of Cubano sandwiches. The key to a good Cubano is all in the mojo pulled pork.
Traditionally, this recipe is made by slow roasting a pork shoulder (or pork butt) in a mojo sauce marinade made of sour orange juice, lime juice, and a handful of spices.
This went brine tenderizes the pork and adds a ton of flavor to the final product. I love using the leftover pulled pork for sandwiches, and nachos, and making a homemade Cubano sandwich (obviously).
If you’re looking for a basic smoker recipe for pork shoulder, check out my guide and recipe here.
Why This Recipe Works:
- Large cuts like pork shoulder marinated in citrus juices create a flavorful and tender fall-apart shredded pork.
- Pork shoulder/pork butt is a fairly affordable cut and yields a large amount of food.
- Mojo pork can be used to create several other recipes like classic Cubano sandwiches, pulled pork nachos, tacos and BBQ platters, etc.
- Large Container For Marinating
- Carving Knife & Cutting Board
- Measuring Cups
- Smoking Meat Thermometer
- Foil Pan and Aluminum Foil
Welcome to my virtual classroom! Use the guided notes below where I often answer commonly asked questions I get from readers and cooks just like you.
This information is meant to help you have a stronger understanding of this recipe and the process so you can find success all on your own.
Ready to begin cooking? Simply jump to the recipe below and begin.
What Is Mojo Marinade?
The marinade here is truly the star. While having the right cooking and smoking techniques are important, starting with the right base to add flavor is the way to go.
Here is what you need for this pork recipe-
- Olive Oil
- Orange Juice
- Lime Juice
- Sea Salt
- Black Pepper
- Garlic Cloves
- Bay Leaves
Add the marinade ingredients to a blender and mix everything together so it’s fully combined. Set it aside to prep the pork.
Set aside a few cups of reserved marinade for spraying your pork shoulder and for wrapping during the smoking process.
Start by removing the pork shoulder from the packaging. You can use bone-in or one without.
Trim off any silver skin on the sides or underneath the shoulder, but keep the fat cap intact. Create a crosshatch pattern by light slicing into the fat cap.
Place it in a large container or shallow dish in order to cover it completely. I use my sous vide tub for this and it works perfectly.
Add the mojo over the pork shoulder and cover it completely. Place it in the fridge and let it brine in the juice overnight or for a few days if preferred.
- Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F. and set it for indirect heat.
- Remove the pork shoulder from the mojo and pat it dry. Add a little olive oil over the whole cut and season with salt and pepper before placing it on the smoker.
- Insert a thermometer into the center of the pork. Then place your pork shoulder onto the grill grates and let it smoke for several hours.
- After the first 3 hours, use the reserved mojo and spray the outside of the meat to help build the bark. Repeat spraying the pork down every hour or so until wrapping.
- Once the pork shoulder reaches the stall (around 165 F.) remove it from the smoker and place it in a foil pan. Place some pieces of butter over the top of the bark and add any remaining marinade to the bottom of the pan. Wrap foil tightly over the top and place it back on the smoker.
- The mojo pork is done when it reaches an internal temperature between 190 F. – 203 F. Check for tenderness by using the probe of the thermometer and inserting it into various parts of the pork. It should feel like softened butter when it’s inserted.
- Remove from the smoker and keep the pork wrapped up tightly. I like to cover the pan in a few hand towels and place it in a cooler for 1-2 hours to rest and finish carry-over cooking.
- Once the pork has rested, pull the pork and discard the bone.
What To Serve With Mojo Pork?
If you want to enjoy it in a more classic way you need to go with some Cuban side dishes. I like white rice, fried plantains, and black beans.
Make tacos with some corn tortillas and mango salsa or try making mojo pulled pork nachos too.
Create pulled pork sliders or a Cubano sandwich, the options are endless!
If you love mojo pork, try my mojo roasted chicken recipe too!
Smoked Mojo Pork Shoulder Recipe
- 1 10 lb. Pork Shoulder or pork butt
- 8 tbsp. Butter sliced and set aside
- 4 cups Orange Juice fresh if possible (about 8-12)
- 1 1/2 cups Lime Juice fresh if possible (about 8-12)
- 2 cups Olive Oil
- 12 Cloves Garlic
- 4 Bay Leaves
- 1 1/2 tbsp. Cumin
- 4 sprigs Fresh Oregano
- 4 sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 2 tbsp. Kosher Salt
- 1 tbsp. Black Pepper
- Remove the pork shoulder from the packaging and pat it dry with paper towels.
- Trim any silver skin off the sides and bottom. Use a carving knife and create a cross hatch pattern into the fat cap over the top. Place the meat in a dish that will hold the pork and the marinade.
- To make the marinade, combine the olive oil, orange juice, lime juice, salt, pepper, cumin, and garlic cloves into a blender. Blend until combined. Reserve 1-2 cups of this mixture and keep it seperate to use when smoking.
- Pour the juice mixture over the pork. Add in the bay leaves and fresh oregano and thyme.
- Place the pork shoulder into the fridge to rest overnight or for up to 2-3 days.
- Preheat the smoker to 225 F. and set it for indirect heat.
- Place the pork shoulder onto the smoker and let it smoke for 3 hours. Use the reserved marinade and spray the meat to build the bark every hour until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 F.
- Once the pork shoulder hits the stall, remove it from the smoker and place it into a foil pan. Add any additional marinade to the bottom of the pan and add the sliced tablespoons of butter over the top of the meat. Cover it tightly in foil and place it back onto the smoker.
- Let the mojo pork reach an internal temperature to about 203 F. Check for tenderness by using the probe of a thermometer and inserting it into the meat to see if it feels like softened butter.
- When it's tender, remove it from the smoker but keep it covered. Let the meat rest in a cooler for 1-2 hours before pulling.
- Pull and shred the pork and serve with white rice, fried plantains, and black beans!