While we cringe a little at the idea of creating a “fusion” cuisine, this week, we’re mixing traditional Cuban flavors with some of our favorite Midwestern traditions: smoking pork on the Big Green Egg, and of course, adding beer to it.
For this smoked pork shoulder, we’re combining the the garlicky and citrusy flavors of a good Cuban mojo sauce with the citrusy flavors of a good ol’ Midwestern wheat beer, Boulevard Brewing Company’s 80-Acre hoppy wheat. The 80-Acre boasts the citrusy yeast aromas typical of many wheat beers and also adds another layer of citrus (think orange and grapefruit) via some bold dry-hopping. Dry-hopping brings out all of the essential oils in hops without pulling out the bitter resins which can sometimes become exponentially bitter during cooking. This beer works perfectly in the recipe to combine with the citrus in the sauce to provide a big punch of flavor to the pork, but any other citrusy wheat beer you like should do the trick.
Because pulled pork is always better with coleslaw, this recipe calls for reserving a bit of the mojo sauce for an easy, flavorful slaw.
Smoked Cuban Pork Shoulder
For the Mojo Sauce:
¾ cup olive oil
1 head garlic minced (or about 3 tablespoons)
Juice and zest of 1 orange
Juice and zest of 1 lime
¼ cup cilantro leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup Boulevard 80-Acre hoppy wheat beer
7 to 9-pound bone-in pork shoulder
Freshly ground black pepper
Mojo sauce (see above)
For the slaw:
Bag coleslaw mix
1 cup mayonnaise
To make the mojo sauce, add all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until combined. Reserve a half cup of the sauce for the coleslaw. Quick-marinate the pork shoulder in the remaining sauce while preparing your smoker.
Set your smoker to 275ºF. Reserving the marinade, place the shoulder on the smoker and allow it to cook for 5 to 7 hours, until it is fork-tender (read: until you can pull it apart with forks).
While the pork is cooking, add the marinade to a saucepan over medium-low heat and warm until it simmers. (NOTE: If you don’t bring the reserved marinade to a simmer, there’s a chance you’ll make your guests sick because of the raw pork juices, so don’t skip this step!) After the marinade has been thoroughly heated throughout, and you smell the aromas of the garlic, remove from the heat and set aside.
When the pork has reached perfect fork-tenderness and is ready to come off of the smoker, allow it to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Pull the pork and then toss the pulled pork with the reserved marinade.
In a separate bowl, combine the coleslaw mix, the mayo and the ½ cup of reserved mojo sauce. Stir until incorporated.
Serve the pork with the coleslaw, buns and plenty of beer.
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