Mojo del Diablo : A Bolder Take on Mojo Marinade and the Miami Sloppy Joe

It had been months of research and experimentation and I was still no closer to the flavor I was seeking. I had been through dozens of recipes, generations of tips, a score of regional variations, and yet the particular potion to perfectly prick my pallet proved puzzling.

It's not like I was new to wrangling pork (Insert ex-wife joke here ;) ). I had roasted the perfect loin, smothered chops so richly they had to pay taxes, and stuffed dozens of pounds of homemade sausage. But really good mojo pork... Vexing. Too sweet, too weak, just plain wrong. A had a half-dozen less than near misses under my belt. Maybe this time...

I glanced over at the notebook on the counter. It was covered more with scribbles and scratches from previous attempts than ingredients still in the running - The battle scars of a recipe in the making. My eyes flitted across the field of slashes and question marks looking for the next-

That's when I thumped the cumin bottle just a wee too hard. A large clump barreled from the jar, bounced off the measuring spoon, and gleefully splashed into the lemon juice below.

Well... That was certainly too much.

I watched the brown powder dissolve into the liquid for a while, my face slowly falling from frustrated determination to resigned catharsis.

I guess we're trying this tonight. And, ya know, while we're at it, let's just kick up the pepper too. Hey, it worked on the Italian sausage! Actually, maybe we should go back and try...

Mistakes are, after all, an opportunity to grow in new and unexpected ways.




Mojo del Diablo


That batch wasn't perfect, but it was inspirational. And I learned a little bit about myself along the way. To borrow a gag from an old friend, it turns out I like my mojo how I like my women: Sour yet spicy!

The recipe below is the final incarnation I have used for mojo pork several times now. I have christened this bolder, more spicy marinade Mojo del Diablo. Because I could. It's fun to come up with names for stuff!

Note that this is specifically tweaked for pork shoulder cuts. I tried it once on chicken and it was quite overpowering. I'd suggest halving all the pepper (at least) for anything other than pork.

  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs cumin
  • 3/4 tbs coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tsp kosher salt

I usually use 4-6lbs of bone-in pork picnic that has had the skin removed. This is the 'leftovers' after trimming the larger, choice cuts for sausage. It should work great for other, similar cuts.

I always marinate in the fridge overnight.

While this works fine for roasting, I have actually come to prefer using a slow cooker set on low for 6 to 8 hours, turning and basing a couple times throughout. I then finish under the broiler for 5 to 7 minutes if serving as a roast. Alternately, I just grab a pair of forks and start shredding for pulled pork.

And don't throw out that juice! Skim off about half the fat (or use a gravy separator). Mix 1.5 tbs corn starch with 1.5 tbs water to create a slurry and use it to thicken the sauce. Drizzle over pork and serve on the side as well.

The Miami Sloppy Joe


I had ample resources to experiment with serving options after so many experiments. One of the tastiest is a little lunch I've dubbed the Miami Sloppy Joe. This sandwich that attempts to capture the high points of its big brother, The Cuban, with fewer ingredient and less hassle.

  • Toast a potato hamburger bun. The potato versions are more flavorful and sturdier than their flower-based cousins, but any type will work fine.
  • Pile bottom of bun with warm pulled pork.
  • Drizzle with about 1 tbs of mojo sauce.
  • Cover with a slice of Swiss cheese (I prefer an aged, baby Swiss)
  • Place under a hot broiler to melt cheese.
  • Add 3-4 freshly sliced garlic dill pickle chips.
  • Spread yellow mustard over top bun and assemble.
  • Optionally serve with mojo sauce on the side for dipping. Yum!

And that just about does it for me. Hopefully this little culinary adventure has inspired you to embrace your own happy little accidents, both in and out of the kitchen. As for myself... Well, I need to hit the gym. A years worth of tweaking pork doesn't come without a price!

We love you! Thanks for reading.

8 comments :

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