Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Pulled-Pork Soft Tacos with Cuban Mojo

Recipe updated February 2015

The popular, traditional sauce (mojo) of Cuba combines garlicky, citrusy, and herbal flavors to create a deliciously bold condiment for just about anything—meats, seafood, vegetables, rice, you name it. The few, simple ingredients add up to well-balanced big flavor, and they come together easily.

Pork plays a significant role in Cuban cuisine too, and braising is one of the most common preparations, especially for tender, juicy pulled pork. While you can add whatever toppings you like to the tacos in this recipe, I think soft tortillas with a simple filling of shredded pork and a drizzle of Cuban mojo is all it takes to make you go mmmmm.

Tip: Stir the mojo well before each use throughout dinner—the oil and citrus juices will keep separating.

Makes about 10 tacos


For the Pulled Pork Tacos

  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2-1/4 lbs pork shoulder (Boston butt), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • sea salt
  • 2-1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 10 6-inch flour tortillas, lightly charred (or warmed in an oven)

Spice Mixture
Pork Shoulder
For the Mojo
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • juice of 2 limes
  • juice of 1 large naval orange
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • sea salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro

Mojo Ingredients 
Prepared Mojo Ingredients

For the Pulled Pork
  1. Combine the first 4 ingredients (through cumin) in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours (or overnight). Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before continuing.

Spice-Rubbed Pork
  1. Preheat the oven to 275° F.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place 1/2 the pork in the pan and sear until browned, 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and sear the rest of the pork with the remaining oil.
  3. Return the 1st batch of pork to the pan and add the garlic and broth. Season with salt, cover tightly, and braise in the oven until fork-tender, about 2 hours, turning once halfway through.
  4. Transfer the pork to a plate and let rest until cool enough to handle. Reserve 1/2 cup of the juices from the pan.
  5. Pull the pork into shreds, discarding any fatty parts, and place in a medium pot or skillet. Add the reserved juices and heat until hot throughout.

Beginning to Sear 
After Turning
Garlic Added
Broth Added
Braised Pork
Pulled Pork 
Transfer the pork to a bowl and serve with warm tortillas and Cuban mojo (recipe follows).

Pulled-Pork Soft Tacos with Cuban Mojo
For the Mojo
  1. Warm the oil in a small skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook 3 minutes, stirring to prevent scorching.
  2. Add the lime juice, orange juice, cumin, and oregano. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer 3 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and season with salt. Pour into a bowl and cool to room temperature. Stir in the cilantro. (If made 1 day ahead, cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before using.

Garlic in Oil
Citrus Added
Cilantro Added
Mojo Sauce


  1. I didn't make the Cuban Mojo as I was looking for a base recipe for pulled pork. I ultimately made BBQ pork. The meat was awesome! Flavorful and very tender.

    This is the first recipe that I made from this blog but won't be the last! Great step by step instructions and love the pictures and quips throughout.

  2. Thanks so much, Jennifer. I hope you enjoy additional recipes---as they are, or improvised. The BBQ pulled pork sounds great. I had enough leftover meat to freeze, and I'll be making BBQ sandwiches out of that this week!