Cuban style Pulled Pork tacos with Mojo Verde
Making Pulled Pork and experimenting with some new recipes and preparation methods is one of the projects I like the most. The taste of pork with a hint of smoke is just fabulous. I like some sweet heavy sauces but they tend to cover the taste delicious taste of the pork. These Cuban style Pulled Pork Tacos with Mojo Verde bring you the opposite. You can expect a well balanced Taco where the acidity in the Mojo Verde puts the emphasis on the meat flavor instead of overruling it. Add some delicious fresh vegetables and your tacos are ready to impress!
Disclosure: “This post features a sponsered test BBQ by Napoleon grills and affiliate links. All opionions shared are my own.”
Cuban BBQ Tradition
In Cuba and many South-American countries there’s a big tradition on BBQ that’s been overshadowed by the North-American BBQ tradition. Unfortunately if you ask me! Unlike what we know as the traditional BBQ from the United States, they tend to keep the emphasis on the meat roasted on hot coals or lump wood. Think about the mighty Asado crosses that make me dream of historic outdoor sessions frequently (Bucketlist material). Cubans often skip the sweet sauces and rubs and tend to keep their meat as pure as possible. When using sauces or “rubs” they bring in some nice fresh and acidic flavors. The acidity brings a delicious balance with the emphasis on the taste of the pork. Just like they do in North-Carolina where they use a vinegar based end sauce for their Pulled Pork (recipe here).
For this version of the pulled pork I used a piece of meat that’s cut from the junction between the neck and the back of pork. My butcher advised me to use this part telling me it would be full of flavor. And he was more than right! The piece he gave me tasted delicious even without using an end sauce! Especially the pieces of meat between the bones were stunning in taste. I used my spitroast and the Napoleon Coal tray to test how well the Napoleon Rogue could hold it’s temperature. For making pulled pork a spitroast isn’t necessary at all (Yet it looks fabulous doesn’t it?). But it worked pretty well! I could hold the temperature stable for many hours, adding some briquettes every once in a while.
Cuban style Pulled Pork
To make this Cuban style Pulled Pork I dry cured the meat with a salt brine flavored with some typical mojo flavors like basilicum, cilantro, garlic, lemon zeste … I also added some cane sugar in the mixture. The dry cure infuses those flavors in the meat. The center of your pork roast remains pure but the bark will be full of taste! But don’t forget to rinse the meat thoroughly before roasting it! You need to get rid of the salt first. Besides the dry cure I also used a rum based mojo verde mopping sauce to keep the meat moist. I used the same flavors for the end sauce used for the Cuban style Pulled Pork Tacos.
Using the Napoleon Spitroast and charcoal tray
As mentioned before I made the Cuban style Pulled Pork on the Napoleon Rogue. I received the BBQ as a test product for 5 months. They asked me to write 5 posts in return. Meanwhile I guess it’s the 8 post I write and about the 30th session. But none of them were the serious long sessions like pulled pork. I wanted to test how well it works to hold temperature for a long time using the charcoal tray that converts the gas grill to a real charcoal grill. Actually it works a lot better than I did expect. You can light 4/5 Briquettes with your burners and turn them down. Line them up in the charcoal tray and add some smokewood. This way it will keep temperature (100°C/210°F) for about 45 min. to an hour (depending on different elements). So you got to add two briquettes every 45 minutes. It’s not that much work but you need to stay alert! As for the smoke taste. Using beech wood I got an excellent smoke taste! I can’t find any difference on the other sessions I do on this part. I hope I can use it for another month so I can scrap porchetta from my bucketlist soon!
Hail all you pulled pork lovers! I’m glad you took the time to read this post about the cuban style pulled pork tacos. If you want more inspiration you can take a look at these pulled pork recipes. What is your favorite and how do you prepare it? Come over to our Facebook page for a chat about our passion! Cheers!
You got to love the Cuban style Pulled Pork tacos! They are meaty, juicy, refreshing a smokey, slightly hot. Combine these elements in a food recipe and it becomes irresistable. Cooked on the Napoleon Rogue rotisserie using the charcoal tray with a chunk of beechwood. Simply delicious!
- 3 kg Pork Neck I used a part between the neck and back of the pig
- Taco shells
- 2 chunks beech wood
- 10 tbsp salt
- 4 tbsp cane sugar
- 2 tbsp cilantro
- 2 tbsp basil
- 1/2 tbsp cumin
- 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tbsp onion powder
- 1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp rum
- 2 tbsp meat juices
- 4 tbsp cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp fresh basil leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp cumin
- salt and pepper at taste
- Hot pepper at taste
- 1 small clove garlic
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 onion
- 150 gr crispy corn
- handful peanuts
- 1 tsp cumin
- salt and pepper at taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Put all Mojo Style dry cure ingredients in a jar and mix thoroughly by hand breaking up clumps when present.
Rub the pork neck with the salt cure and place in the refrigerator overnight.
Rins the Pork Neck thoroughly and pat dry. When you have time you can put the Pork Neck back in the fridge for another 12 hrs. This way the surface of your piece of meat will dry out forming a lovely bark after smoking.
Start your smoker or BBQ for cooking at low heat (about 100°C/200°F) add a couple of wood chunks at taste. This time I used beech chunks bringing a slightly deeper smoke taste than the fruit woodchunks I usually use. But still on the sweet side.
Once the smoke turns blue put the meat on the rotisserie (or on top of your grid it works well too!) and close the lid.
Let the piece of pork cook until you get an internal temperature from about 84°c/184°F. Meanwhile you can make your mop sauce to baste the meat with every once a while (for instance while you refill the coals/briquettes). When using a Kamado you can skip this since the environment under the dome is moist enough.
Mix all mojo style mop sauce ingredients and stir through! In an end stage you can use the meat drippings you catch up from underneath the piece of meat to baste along with this mojo style mop sauce.
Mop your piece of pork about every hour when you check on the temperature and coals. Since we dry cured the meat you don’t need to be afraid the taste will drip of.
Once the internal the internal temp. is 84°C/184°F you can open the lid again! Try to resist pulling some strings allready! Now you need to baste the sauce on the shoulder every 15-30 minutes. Do this for about 3-4 times or untill you reach an internal temperature of 94°C/200°F. If it goes faster you need to baste a bit faster.
When the pork neck reaches an internal temperature of 94°C/200°F you remove it from the BBQ and let it rest for 0.5 to 1 hour in an oven or smoker at 65°C/150°F slighly covered with thin foil.
Put a cast iron pan on the grill at medium heat (about 200°C-390°F). Toss in the cumin and sliced onions. Meanwhile grill the bell pepper.
Once the skin of the peppers turn black you remove them from the grill and scrape off the peel. Add them to the onios with the lemon juice, and corn. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Taste if you need to add some salt and pepper.
Now your veggies are done you only need to make the mojo verde by mixing all ingredients. Cut the herbs thinly and add them to the liquid ingredients. Taste and add some ingrediënts you want. The sauce should taste sour. Don’t worry it will combine well with the pulled pork and you can use as much as you want.
Toast the peanuts in a pan until they are slightly browned.
Pull your pork neck while grilling your taco shells.
Put some vegetables on the tacos, add some pulled pork on top of it. Season with the mojo verde and finish with some toasted peanuts!