Holiday Feature

Cuban-Style Roast Suckling Pig

Yield: 8 servings


In Cuba, this dish is traditionally served on New Year's Day. In this tradition, as in the Hawaiian luau, the pig is usually covered with banana leaves and cooked over a coal fire in a pit that's dug in the backyard. Because this method is not easy to do at home, the recipe below uses a small suckling pig that will fit in the oven, yet deliver the same delicious flavor. Ask your butcher to split the pig for you. Don't be afraid to give this recipe a try—cooking a whole small pig is like cooking a whole turkey.


Juice of 30 Seville (sour) oranges, or
     juice of 20 limes and 8 regular oranges (7 to 8 cups)
Cloves from 6 heads of garlic, minced
1 cup minced fresh oregano leaves
5 tablespoons salt

1 whole suckling pit (about 12 pounds), split
Lime, Garlic, and Oregano Mojo


Combine the juice, garlic, oregano, and salt in a mixing bowl. Transfer to a large deep roasting pan and place the pig, belly down, into the pan. Thoroughly coat the pig with the marinade, massaging it in. Let sit in the marinade overnight. Baste the pig occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

Remove the pig from the marinade and place it on a large baking sheet. Cover the pig's ears, snout, and tail with aluminum foil. Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook for 4 to 4-1/2 hours (20 minutes per pound).

Remove the foil when you take the pig out of the oven. Let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving. Serve with the mojo, and some black beans and rice.

Lime, Garlic & Oregano Mojo

3/4 cup olive oil
1-1/2 cups freshly squeezed lime juice
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped fresh oregano leaves
1-1/2 teaspoons salt

With a wire whisk, blend the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Keep refrigerated for up to 2 days.


Recipe from:

Nuevo Latino:
Recipes That Celebrate the New Latin-American Cuisine

by Douglas Rodriguez with John Harrisson
Photographs by Dennis Galante
$27.95, cloth,
Ten Speed Press
ISBN 0-8915-752-8
Recipe reprinted by permission


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This page created December 1998; modified November 2006