Mojo Pork Sandwiches

While I was in Tampa for a conference a few years ago a friend and I walked to lunch after the morning session.  We ended up at a sports bar near the convention center called Hattrick’s.  The place had a bustling lunch crowd – a good sign.  I chose to order a Cuban roasted pork sandwich with mojo sauce, and it was incredible!

Mojo Pork Sandwich

The sandwich was so good that I went back to Hattrick’s before leaving town to get another.  The following Easter I set out to make my own version of this sandwich – I wanted to eat pork but I certainly wasn’t cooking a ham for only two people.  By adapting recipes and adding elements from the Hattrick’s sandwich, I perfected my own Mojo Pork Sandwich.

This is not your typical Cuban sandwich with ham, pork, swiss, and mustard.  For this sandwich, pork is roasted in mojo sauce, a Cuban citrus garlic sauce, then shredded (adapted from Three Guys from Miami).  Then the pork is piled on Cuban bread, topped with melted mozzarella, and paired with a garlic dipping sauce.  The results are mouth-watering!  I promise you’ll love my re-creation of this sandwich…

Mojo Pork Sandwiches

Prep Time: 45 minutes + 2-3 hours marinating time

Cook Time:  3-6 hours

Serves: 6

Ingredients

2 loaves Cuban Bread
6 slices Fresh Mozzarella
2 lb. Pork Shoulder (or other boneless roast)
10-15 cloves Garlic
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Peppercorns
1/2 c. Orange Juice
1/4 c. Lime Juice
1/4 c. Lemon Juice
1 c. minced Onion
2 tsp. Oregano
1/2 c. Olive Oil
Garlic Dipping Sauce
2-3 cloves Garlic
1/4 c. Olive Oil
1/4 c. Orange Juice
2 tbsp. Lime Juice
2 tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 tbsp. Vinegar
Salt
Pepper

1.  Start by making the mojo sauce: Mash the garlic, salt, and peppercorns into a paste using a mortar and pestle.  Depending on the size of your mortar you may have to do this in two batches.

Note: The variable number of garlic cloves is to account for the size of the cloves.  If your head of garlic has nice big cloves, you can probably stop at 10.  If the cloves are smaller you may want to use up to 15.

Stir in the orange, lemon, and lime juices along with the onion and oregano then allow to sit at least 30 minutes.

Mojo Sauce

2.  Set aside about a quarter cup of the mojo sauce for later.

3.  Now it’s time to make the marinade for the roast.  We’re going to do this by simply adding oil to our remaining mojo sauce.  Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, remove from the heat and whisk in the sauce.

Marinade

4.  Pierce the pork roast all over with a fork (to help the marinade penetrate the meat).  Pour the marinade over the roast and allow the marinate in the fridge for 2-3 hours, turning halfway through.

5.  After the roast is through marinating, put the pork and marinade in a crockpot and cook on high for 2 hours.  Then turn the heat down to low and cook until the meat shreds easily with a fork (up to 4 more hours).  The cook time will vary based on the size and dimensions of your roast.

Tip: If you want to speed up the cooking process, cut the roast into 2-3 chunks before cooking.

6.  When the roast is almost done, make the garlic dipping sauce: Combine the garlic, olive oil, and vinegar in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.  With the blade running, gradually pour in the juice to make an emulsion.  To finish, season with salt and pepper.

This will make excess sauce.  The leftovers can be stored in the fridge up to a couple weeks.  Just make sure you let it come up to room temperature and run it through a blender to re-emulsify before serving.

The sauce is not critical but adds another dimension of flavor.  If you’re not a garlic lover, you skip the sauce and still have a delicious sandwich!

Garlic Sauce

7.  Shred the pork (I use two forks) and drizzle with the mojo sauce you set aside earlier.  If the pork still doesn’t seem moist enough to you, you can add some of the cooking juice, just try to avoid the oil floating at the top.

Pull Pork

8.  Cut your Cuban bread into sandwich-size pieces then halve the pieces.  Top with shredded pork, packing it down to keep it from falling off.

Looking for something to do with those bread heels?  I’ll admit, I usually just eat mine (the bread’s THAT good), but it’s also great with soup.  Check out our**FIX** Butternut Squash Soup, Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, or Lasagna Soup for ideas…

Put Pork on Bread

9.  Top with a slice of fresh mozzarella and cook under the broiler until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown lightly.  Keep an eye on the bread because it toasts faster than the cheese melts – you may have to pull out the sandwich tops before the bottoms.

Melt Mozzarella

10.  Close the sandwich and you’re ready to dig in!

Mojo Pork Sandwich

Serve with the garlic dipping sauce and a side.  I like to pair it with chips or a potato dish – fries or our Perfect Oven-Roasted Potato Wedges.  Leftovers reheat well and make a great packed lunch.  Enjoy!

Mojo Pork Lunch

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Crock Pot Pulled Pork

Unfortunately, we don’t currently own a smoker, so making traditional pulled pork is a little difficult. But with a Crock Pot and a little love, we can still accomplish that tender, juicy result generally achieved by an all-day smoke.  (Pictured Below: Pulled Pork on a cornbread pancake, topped with coleslaw, then smothered in BBQ sauce, aka the Redneck Taco)

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Crock Pot Pulled Pork is super simple and only has 5 ingredients: pork, onion, garlic, Wham’s, and Hickory Smoked Sea Salt. Wham’s is an all-purpose BBQ rub that I have only ever seen in Piggly Wiggly and Star Market here in Alabama. It’s full name is Willingham’s World Champion Wham Seasoning and I’m sorry to say I have no idea if they sell it anywhere else. In the event you can’t find this little jar of magic, you can use your favorite rub instead. I buy the Hickory Smoked Sea Salt at Williams Sonoma. I don’t know if anyone else makes an equivalent, but let me tell you, this stuff is worth it’s weight in gold. It gives any dish a delightfully smoky flavor, worlds above and beyond liquid smoke, which can taste a little… off… sometimes.

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I make this pretty frequently because it’s easy, tasty, and it makes a lot, which means leftovers. A warm and yummy pulled pork sandwich, deliciously buttery stuffed baked potato, piled on a crazy awesome redneck taco, or crispy fresh pulled pork salad – all equally tantalizing options. However you choose to enjoy this, I assure you, it will be scrumptious!

Peel and cut 1 large or 2 medium onions into 6th’s or 8th’s (wedges) and toss into the bottom of your slow cooker. Now peel 4-6 cloves of garlic, cut in half and toss in with the onions. Try to evenly disperse the veggies on the bottom; you want to create a little veggie rack for your pork to sit on. If the amount of onion called for isn’t enough, feel free to add another. I use a 2-3 pound roast so 2 usually does it for me, but for a large or longer roast, you might need the extra.

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You can use any type of pork roast you’d like; I usually buy the giant, untrimmed pork loin from Sam’s or Costco and cut it down myself. It’s not difficult to do, it’s way more cost effective, and you can cut it down into whatever size roast or chops you need. However you buy your pork, I would definitely go with boneless for this recipe. It will cook faster than pork with the bone-on. Also, I usually trim most of the fat off the bottom of the roast. Since you’re covering this roast halfway up with water, you don’t need the fat for moisture or tenderizing. Rinse the pork off and pat dry with paper towels.

Lay your pork on the cutting board that you just chopped the veggies on so the excess seasoning doesn’t get all over your counter. You want to generously sprinkle on the BBQ seasoning.  I’m sorry this picture is a little blurry, but I wanted you to see how much Wham’s I start with, adding more if this doesn’t cover the roast.

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You’re going for a nice, even coverage on all sides of the meat. When you open the jar of Hickory Smoked Sea Salt, that smokey scent will pop out to say hello. It can be too strong if you use too much of it, so a light sprinkling will do. Plus, chances are the BBQ seasoning already contains salt, so you don’t want to make your pork too salty. And don’t just sprinkle on the seasoning, really massage it into the meat – give little piggy the royal treatment!  Now, all you do is set your seasoned roast on the veggies in the slow cooker, and fill with water, to about halfway up the sides of the roast.  It’s OK that the onions not directly under the roast are swimming.

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You can cook for 4-5 hours on high heat if you need it done faster, but low and slow is the way to go. At least 7-8 hours on low for a 2-3 pound roast. When I made this for my daughter’s first birthday (I made cute little pulled pork sliders!), I put it in the crockpot late the night before, and let it cook all night and into the morning. If your slow cooker has a “warm” setting, it should automatically come on after your timer goes off. This is super handy in case you get home late from work, or can’t get to it first thing in the morning.  And since you’ve added water, it won’t dry out.  This is what it looks like after an 8 hour bath in the Crock Pot.

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When it’s done, it should fall apart when you stick a fork in it and twist. It’s easiest to get the pork out of Slow Cooker using tongs. Transfer it to a bowl and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.  This resting time will allow the meat to reabsorb it’s juices, hopefully keeping it from drying out.  Use 2 forks or your fingers to shred.

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Save a little of the cooking liquid in case the pork isn’t as moist as you’d like or dries out a little during shredding.  And now, you can serve it anyway you like! I like making pulled pork sandwiches, redneck tacos, or stuffed baked potatoes the first night, and then using the leftovers to top a yummy salad for lunch the next day.

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Crock Pot Pulled Pork

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8-9 hours

Ingredients:
2-3 pound pork sirloin roast
2 medium onions
5-6 cloves garlic, crushed and cut in half
Wham’s, or other BBQ rub
Hickory Smoked Sea Salt

Step 1: Peel the garlic and cut each into 2 or 3 pieces. Peel the onions and cut into 6th’s or 8th’s (wedges). Spread them out on the bottom of your Crock Pot.

Step 2: Rinse your meat in cold water and pat dry. Sprinkle your BBQ seasoning very generously on the pork. Add a little of the hickory smoked sea salt.  Then, using your fingers, massage your seasonings into the meat. Work it into every side evenly.

Step 3: Place your seasoned meat on top of the bed of onions and garlic. Add water to the Crock Pot until it comes about halfway up the sides of the meat.

Step 4: Set your Crock Pot on Low for 8 to 9 hours.

Step 5: When the pork is fully cooked, remove from Crock Pot with tongs and put in a bowl. Let rest for 5-10 minutes, then shred using two forks or your fingers. It should fall apart.

Step 6: Serve anyway you like! On a salad, baked potato, or try our homemade buns!

Chipotle Stout Braised Beef

Mexican food is one of my favorite kinds of foods to cook.  This recipe is one of my boyfriend’s favorite Mexican dishes.  Likely due in no small part to the fact that it’s cooked in beer.  So this recipe is sure to be a man-pleaser!

Chipotle Stout Beef - Ready to serve

This shredded beef, braised in chocolate stout with chipotles, onions, and garlic, makes a great main dish for your next fiesta!  I’ve cooked it for friends on multiple occasions and it’s always a hit!

Chipotle Stout Braised Beef

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 6-8 hours

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients

2 lb. Beef Roast (ideally a fairly lean cut)
1/4 c. Olive Oil
Salt
Black Pepper
1 White Onion
Large bottle Chocolate Stout (1 pint+)
1/2 c. Beef Broth
6 Garlic Cloves
4 Chipotles
2 tbsp. Adobo Sauce

1.  Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat.

2.  While olive oil is heating, season roast on all sides with salt and pepper.

3.  Once the oil is hot (the meat should sizzle when it hits the pan), sear the meat on all sides (~3-4 minutes/side).  This step helps seal in the juices and natural flavor of the beef.  You want to get a nice brown on all sides of the roast.

4.  While the meat is searing, quarter your onion, peel the garlic, and collect your other ingredients.

Chipotle Stout Beef - Ingredients

5.  Once you’ve seared the roast, transfer it to the crockpot.  Add the onion, garlic, chipotles, and adobo sauce.  Then pour the beef broth and chocolate stout over the roast.

Chipotle Stout Beef - Wet Ingredients

6.  Cover and cook on high 6 hours or low 8 hours.  When done, you should be able to pierce the roast with a fork without resistance.

7.  Transfer roast from your crockpot into a large bowl, leaving behind the onions, garlic, and chipotles.  If it falls apart, that’s good!  It means your meat is nice and tender.  Shredding should be a snap!  I like to shred the beef using two forks.  If you encounter chunks of fat, discard.

Chipotle Stout Beef - Shred

8.  Transfer shredded beef to a skillet or pan.  Add cooking juices from the crockpot to the pan (I use ~3 ladles full).  You don’t want your meat swimming, but there should be a layer of liquid in the bottom of the pan.

Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until juices are driven off.  You want the meat to still be moist, but not wet.  At this point, it’s time to taste the beef.  Does it have enough flavor?  If so, you’re done (in this case I was done).  Otherwise, add some more cooking juices, drive off the liquid, and taste again.

Chipotle Stout Beef - Ready to serve

Once it’s flavorful enough for your taste, serve in warm, homemade tortillas with your favorite toppings.  I recommend pairing it with guacamole (try our Roasted Garlic Guacamole) or our Avocado Spread and chopped fresh cilantro If you want to use cheese I suggest Farmer’s, Monterey Jack, or Asadero.  Or, for a unique Mexican dish, wrap the beef in tortilla dough and fry to make empanadas  (pictured below).

Chipotle Stout Beef - Empanadas