1/2 cup of sour orange juice (if sour orange is not available, you can substitute with the juice of 1/2 orange, plus 1 lemon and 1 lime)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
1.5 cups pork lard
Pork is a staple in Cuban cooking, and this recipe is a Cuban classic that most household knows how to make. The name of this dish in Spanish, “masitas de Puerco fritas,” translates to fried pork chunks or pieces. Masitas de Puerco is a recipe easy enough to prepare to be an any-day-of-the-week meal but is delicious enough to work as a special Sunday dinner dish.
The best cut for this recipe is the pork shoulder, specifically the pork butt. Other cuts are sometimes used, but the pork butt has the best ratio of meat-to-fat for this dish. The secret to a really incredible dish is pastured pork since the flavor of the meat on its own is out-of-this-world. Coupled with a classic mojo marinade, this recipe is guaranteed to have your friends, family, or other guests hold you in high regard forever.
This simple yet decadent dish is guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser.
Take the peeled garlic cloves and place them into a mortar and pestle. Add a hefty pinch of salt and pound the garlic with the mortar. Once it’s roughly mashed, add the remainder of the salt, plus the oregano & cumin. Continue to mash until your garlic and spices are well combined and you have a nice paste.
Add about two to three tablespoons of the sour orange juice into the mash and mix until it is all incorporated. Then add the rest of the juice.
Add the marinade to the pork and combine well, ensuring every meat surface has been coated with the marinade. Cover your marinated pork and place it into your fridge for an hour. After an hour has passed, pull your pork and stand at room temp for 10 to 20 minutes.
On medium-low heat, preheat the 1.5 cups of lard in a good-sized pan or pot. Add the pork to the pan. You should hear a gentle sizzle. Add the rest of the marinade contained in the bowl into the cooking pot. Cooking it on medium-low heat, allow the meat to slowly cook from the inside out, leaving you with a juicy, tender piece of meat.
Cook uncovered the entire time. This recipe goes for about an hour, maybe a little longer, depending on how much liquid is released and your pot’s size. At this stage, we aren’t going for a hard sear. All the browning will come toward the end. Once the pork starts showing a bit of color, turn up the heat a bit more to finish it off and get a deeper golden brown tone. The meat should be very tender at this point.
Pull the meat out of the pot and put it into a strainer or a plate with some napkins to allow some of the grease to strain. Plate and top with very lightly sautéed onions (optional), as well as a few slices of lemon or lime, and enjoy.
This dish goes extremely well with Tostones (double fried & flattened plantains), or a typical side dish will do it justice. Rice and beans, a traditional fufu de platano (plantain mash with garlic and a bit of stock).