I picked up a pork loin the other day and tried to think of a way to smoke it, and then I remembered some of the food we had in Cuba a few years ago. Mojo is a marinade used in Cuba, consisting of citrus, garlic, oregano, and ground cumin, and it's perfect for pork or chicken.
In January of 2019, my wife and I had the opportunity to take one of the last cruises on Royal Caribbean to Cuba before Americans were barred from traveling to the country. Without getting into politics, one of the most impressive aspects of Cuban culture we discovered is the Cuban people's ability to do so much with so little resources.
If you're unfamiliar, Cuba has been cut off from its largest neighbor, the United States. The standoff began 60 years ago when Fidel Castro gained power and introduced communism to the island. The effects of Cuba's isolation are evident everywhere you look when you arrive. The buildings and architecture, while beautiful, are in disrepair. The cars from the 1950s that have been patched together over the years flood the streets. But in all of the struggle and hardship Cuba faces, on our visit, everyone we encountered seemed to take pride in their country and their culture. We had great food, fantastic rum, and don't get me started on the cigars.
We ended up taking a guided tour of Havana in a 1958 Chevy Convertible, taking us to where the USSR housed the missiles during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Hemingway's favorite bar El Floridita, as well as the Partagas cigar factory. It was a fantastic experience, and I highly recommend traveling to Cuba if Americans get the chance again.
So, I decided to recreate some of the flavors we experienced in Cuba by using the Mojo marinade on the pork loin and then smoke it in my Pit Boss Pro Series Vertical smoker. I'll go through the process of how I prepared it. I first scored the fat cap in cross-sections, then I created the marinade by adding 1 cup of fresh-squeezed blood orange juice, 1/8 cup of Lime Juice, ½ cup of olive oil, 2 whole cloves of garlic, 1 tsp of Oregano, and 1 tsp of ground Cumin. I let the pork marinate overnight and then placed it in the smoker at 225 degrees. I cooked the pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees and then removed it from heat; this took about an hour and a half, but I suggest using a wireless thermometer to gauge the internal temp such as the Meater Plus. Once I removed the pork from the smoker, I used a Butane blow torch to
For this recipe, I used Applewood pellets, and If you've read my other recipes, you know that I prefer Applewood pellets when I cook pork or chicken. The smoke isn't overpowering, and for this recipe, it allows the citrus notes to shine through. Slice it and serve it with red beans and rice; enjoy!
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