Easy dinner recipes: Cuban-style pork shoulder in a Crockpot

Break out your old slow-cooker with this Cuban-style pork shoulder recipe.
(Kirck McCoy / Los Angeles Times)

The slow cooker has endured years of household neglect. Cooks tend to reject its untapped glory because of the crockpot’s unsophisticated reputation, which is a real shame. Crockpots deserve some respect!

It’s time to brush off the dust and spiderwebs from your slow cooker. There are few things simpler than throwing everything into the pot, letting it bubble by itself for hours, and calling it dinner. Here’s a recipe for Cuban-style pork shoulder that will make you grateful you never gave your Crockpot the boot. 


Total time: 20 minutes, plus cooking time (4 hours on high; 8 hours on low) | Serves 8


Note: Serve the pork with black beans and rice. This recipe requires a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker.

9 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tablespoons salt

4 teaspoons dried oregano


1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 teaspoons ground chile pepper

2 dried bay leaves, finely crumbled

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

2 tablespoons vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons lime juice


5 pounds pork shoulder, bone and skin removed and cut into 2-inch cubes

3 onions

1/3 cup vegetable or chicken broth

In a large bowl, combine the garlic, salt, oregano, cumin, black pepper, chili pepper, crumbled bay leaves and orange zest. Stir in the vinegar, orange and lime juices to make a coarse paste. Add the pork pieces and toss until the pieces are evenly coated with the spice paste. Set aside to marinate while you finish the other preparations.

Trim and cut the onions lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the slices in an even layer on the bottom of the slow cooker insert. Pour the broth over the onions. Arrange the pork in an even layer over the onions, pouring over any reserved marinade.

Cover the insert and place it in the slow cooker. Set the cooker to high heat and cook 4 to 4 1/2 hours until the pork is fork-tender. Remove from heat and crack the lid to allow the mixture to cool slightly. Gently stir the pork with the onions and serve.

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