What is Masitas de Puerco?
Masitas de puerco is all about succulent pork chunks, marinated to perfection (overnight if you can wait), and then fried to a glorious golden brown. Every bite is a journey into the heart of Cuban cuisine, filled with rich flavors and unforgettable memories.
There are so many Cuban dishes that I remember the first time I ever ate them. Masitas de puerco is no exception. This recipe is a cherished part of my culinary journey. It all began when I moved in with my Cuban boyfriend, now my husband, and his big, lively family. Can you imagine a household with parents, sisters, a sister’s boyfriend, and kids? I made it to number 9! That’s how you know you’ve entered a Cuban home, right?
Anyways….One day, after coming home from work, the irresistible aroma of Masitas de Puerco greeted me outside. It lured me into the kitchen, where a pot of these delectable pork chunks was simmering. No time for questions; I grabbed a fork and took that first magical bite. The pork was tender on the inside, with a delightful crunch on the outside, and the flavors danced on my taste buds.
Just like I said when I shared the Pollo Asado recipe, the secret behind this recipe’s extraordinary taste is the Cuban mojo criollo (pronounced moh-hoh kree-oyo). It’s a delightful concoction of sour orange juice, garlic, salt, oregano, and cumin. Sour oranges, known as Seville oranges, are the stars of this show. If you can’t find them in your area, don’t worry; naranja agria is readily available at any Latin supermarket.
While every Cuban family has its unique twist on mojo, the base remains the same. Our recipe, influenced by my husband’s family, is characterized by an abundance of spices like cumin and oregano, resulting in a flavor explosion you won’t forget.
Masitas de Puerco Recipe Tips
Pork – Cut a pork shoulder into 1 1/2″-2″ pieces. Pork loin or country style pork ribs work as substitutes. Smaller pieces are an option but be cautious while frying to prevent overcooking.
Mojo Criollo – You can use store-bought mojo criollo as a base, but don’t forget to enhance it with fresh smashed garlic, a touch more salt, cumin, oregano, and lime juice for that authentic Cuban flavor.
Frying – Traditionally, lard is used for frying, but vegetable, corn, or canola oil can also be substituted.
Masitas de Puerco Perfect Sides
- Black beans and rice
- White beans and rice
- Red beans and rice
- Garbanzo beans and rice
- Yuca con mojo de ajo
And no matter which side of beans and rice you choose, don’t forget to pair your Masitas de Puerco with a refreshing avocado salad and sweet maduros (fried plantains).
Sharing is Fun…..below is a Pinterest friendly photo!
Masitas de Puerco (Cuban Fried Pork Chunks)
Masitas de puerco is all about succulent pork chunks, marinated to perfection in a bright citrusy-garlicky Cuban mojo criollo, and then fried to a glorious golden brown. Every bite is a journey into the heart of Cuban cuisine, filled with rich flavors and unforgettable memories.
Mojo Criollo Marinade
Using a mortar and pestle mash the garlic. Transfer the garlic to a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine. Let sit for at least 20 minutes to let the flavors incorporate with each other.
Cut pork into 1 1/2" to 2" pieces. Put the pieces of pork into a large non reactive bowl.
Pour mojo criollo marinade over the pieces of pork. Make sure to completely submerge all of the pieces of pork. Let sit overnight if possible. If overnight isn’t possible at least let the pork marinate for a minimum of 2 hours.
Using a large stock pot or Dutch oven heat lard or oil on medium heat. When the lard or oil is hot add pork pieces carefully one by one. Using a large strainer to catch the garlic, drain the marinade into the pot of cooking pork.
Cover the pork with a lid and continue to cook. What I like about making masitas is that you don’t have to babysit the meat too much. Let the pork cook on medium heat for about an hour moving the meat around occasionally. As the pork is cooking you will see the oil go through stages. When the oil looks cloudy there is still a lot of water that needs to cook off.
During the last half hour the oil will clear up and the pork will start to brown. Turn the heat off and let the masitas cool in the oil. Keep any leftover pork in the oil to keep the meat tender.
Last, heat a cast iron pan on medium heat and brown the cooked pieces of pork with some sliced onion pieces. Serve pork topped with cooked onion slices and rice and beans.