Mojo Sauce

Cuban Food Recipe: Mojo Sauce

(This is from the 3 guys from Miami web page and outstanding!)

Cuban Marinade

There are many variations of mojo sauce. It is the signature marinade of Cuba and it finds its way into many different dishes.

Many mojo sauces do not include oil. When you are roasting a pig, the oil is not necessary -- there's plenty of fat in the pig! The same is true for any large chunk of pork but make sure the skin and fat is intact! Your butcher will think you’re crazy when you tell him to leave all the skin and fat on your next pork butt or shoulder!

For chicken, fish, beef, and any other meat a mojo sauce with oil helps prevent the meat from drying out in the marinade.

With oil or without, the key element is sour orange, or Naranja Agria which you can find in most good Latin stores these days.  If you can’t find it use a mixture or orange and lime juice as listed in the recipes below.

Mojo Without Oil


Garlic Cloves


Black peppercorns (whole)


Sour orange juice

(In a pinch, use two parts orange to one part lemon and one part lime)

The key to making mojo is in the proportions. The nice thing is that you can make exactly the amount you need.

For a pig, we use four or five large HEADS of garlic! That's approximately 70 to 80 cloves.

Use a mortar and pestle.

For every ten cloves of garlic, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, six black peppercorns, and some oregano. Mash them all together into a paste. Scoop the paste out into a separate bowl. Continue this process until all of the garlic (all five heads) is mashed.

Stir in sour orange juice. (Five heads of garlic should be added to about 1 quart of sour orange juice to make a mojo for a whole pig.) Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer. Use immediately to season the pig or refrigerate for later use.

To make a smaller amount, reduce the amounts, but keep the proportions. For example, to make 1 cup of mojo, use about 1 head of garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, 12 black peppercorns, and 1 cup sour orange juice and just a bit of oregano. DO NOT substitute cilantro. It will ruin the authentic Cuban taste!

Mojo With Oil


3 heads garlic (the more the merrier, I always say!)

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 1/2 cups sour orange juice

(In a pinch, use two parts orange to one part lemon and one part lime)

1 cup minced onion

2 teaspoons oregano (NOT cilantro!)

1 cup Spanish olive oil

Mash garlic, salt, and peppercorns into a paste, using a mortar and pestle. Stir in sour orange juice, onion, and oregano. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer.

In a saucepan, heat olive oil to medium hot (approximately 280 degrees F) and remove from heat. Carefully whisk in the garlic-orange juice mixture (prepared above) until well blended.  This will smell like HEAVEN… or at least like MaMa’s kitchen back in the ‘60’s! 

(Ken’s note)--The first recipe is for fatty pork dishes... the second, Mojo with oil, is a great all-purpose mojo that will also work with pork dishes.  I highly recommend using the mojo with oil all the time. Hey, if you’re eating pork anyway who cares about a little extra oil????

Recipe courtesy of Ken, WI

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