Published July 1, 2006.
Garlicky, citrus-infused pork is a natural for the backyard grill. Unfortunately, so are dry meat, burnt skin, and faint flavors. We grill-roasted 200 pounds of pork to get it right.
Cuban roast pork--marinated in a flavorful mixture of citrus, garlic, olive oil, and spices and then grilled--is a project recipe. And it is certainly not worth the effort if the result is burnt skin and dry, flavorless meat.
We wanted a bold-flavored dish with crackling-crisp skin, tender meat infused with flavor, and a bracing garlic-citrus sauce for an accompaniment. We also wanted a recipe that could be made outdoors (for large summer parties) or indoors.
We learned early how to cook the pork completely on the grill, but the process was tedious, requiring constant refueling and rotating over several hours. We solved this problem with a combination cooking method, cooking the pork on the grill for three hours (the time it took for our initial supply of coals to die down) and then finishing it in the oven. A foil "shield" helped the stay skin crisp without turning black. We also used a combination method to infuse the meat flavor. First, we marinated the pork in a powerful solution that included two heads of garlic and 4 cups of orange juice, then we rubbed an exterior paste into slits cut all over the pork. But texture was an issue--the sections of the meat closest to the crust were moist and tender, but the leaner interior was occasionally too dry. We turned to the magic of brining, adding salt to convert our marinade into a hybrid brine/marinade. After a 24-hour soak, even the meat close to the bone was flavorful. A one-hour rest after cooking and a final splash of mojo sauce made for juicy, flavorful pork.list of recipes