TROPICAL TASTE – The Pig Roast, Cuban Style – Warning for those on dial-up – several photos

Filed in Gather Food Essential by on April 30, 2007 0 Comments


Raul Musibay, of the 3 Guys in Miami fame and I have been corresponding for several years. It all started when I e-mailed them asking if they had any idea of how to make ‘raspadura’, a very common confection made with sugar cane juice given to children when I was growing up, as a “contra'” or extra by small grocery store owners in Cuban neighborhoods when you were sent to buy something. Central and South Americans know this confection as ‘piloncillo’ or ‘panela’ and it is made of unrefined brown sugar.


Through the years he and the other two members of the 3 Guys, Jorge & Glenn and I have corresponded and bought each other’s cookbooks. I have featured some of their recipes both in my blog and in Gather several times.

When Raul learned I was planning on visiting Miami this past month, he said he would host the traditional pig roast for which he has become famous if I made him the flan recipe I had featured in my blog last Christmas holidays. I told him it was a deal!



 Raul and his son Onel inspecting the pig


The pig roast in my honor was held Saturday, April 21 at Raul and Esther’s home in Miami. We mingled with members and friends of both our families and the whole event was a huge success!




 Esther, Raul and Sonia




Raul has a system for roasting the pig which he learned from his father and father-in-law long ago in Cuba, is the easiest method I have ever seen and doesn’t take all day or all night as most people commonly think.  Click here to find out how.


  Flipping the pig over! 


After a few hours, they take off two layers of the blocks and bring the pig down closer to the heat source.







 Tere basting the pig following Esther’s instructions





When the pig is ready, they untie the top section of ‘fencing’ used for securing the pig over the fire and then carry it to where a pan is waiting to flip the pig into the pan



 Flipping it into the pan



 Come and get it!


Tere & Steven cutting up the pig…..Cookie taking pictures!



 Pan Cubano, or Cuban bread is not quite like French or Italian bread.  It has a taste and consistency of it’s own.  If you can’t find it in your area, either French or Italian can make an ‘adequate’ substitute, but it will not be the same!



Cutting the Cuban bread







Raul tasting Sonia’s flan




 2 Guys from Miami and the Gal from Hawaii!



Please read the instructions the 3 Guys provide in their website and look at the diagrams for making the “pig holder”, which makes it so easy to flip the whole thing over.

You can read their version of this fun event here!

Esther’s Fantastic Mojo Sauce

4 or 5 heads garlic cloves
2 teaspoons salt
Black peppercorns (whole)
Oregano (to taste)
1 quart sour orange juice
(In a pinch, use two parts orange to one part lemon and one part lime)

Sour oranges can be found usually in Hispanic or Asian markets. If you can’t find them fresh to juice yourself, use the substitution above, but it won’t taste exactly the same.

Yes, you read it right the first time. 4 or 5 HEADS of garlic. That should be about 70 to 80 cloves!

Pound the garlic cloves in batches with some salt, oregano and some the whole peppercorns in a mortar and pestle, scooping it out and placing in a clean large mayonnaise or pickle glass jar as you finish pounding each batch.

Add the sour orange juice and mix well. Keep at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before using.

Baste the pig liberally and also use the mojo sauce to drizzle over the bread when filling it with the shredded bits of pork. Don’t be shy! Everyone else will be doing the same!




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Sonia Martinez, Gather Food Correspondent
Sonia’s column, ‘Tropical Taste’ is a regular twice-monthly feature of Gather Essentials: Food.

Sonia is a cookbook author and freelance food writer for several publications in Hawaii, and is also a Hawaii Island Journal restaurant reviewer in partnership with her son Anthony Mathis.  She lives in a beautiful rural rainforest area on the Big Island of Hawaii.

You can keep up with Sonia’s adventures and ongoing love affair with Hawaii by joining her network, or visiting her food & garden blog at Sonia Tastes Hawaii.

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