Mojo Criollo Nuevo Marinade and Brine

This is an adaptation of a Caribbean-style brine or marinade for pork. The lime juice subs for the traditional sour oranges which can be difficult to find. I’ve reduced the salt as low as I can and still have a “brine.” The dark beer (I used a mocha stout.) adds a hint of sweetness and mellows out the flavors. This recipe makes about 1 ½ gallons brine, sufficient for a 50 to 60 lb. pig.



  • 2 heads garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 Tbs. dried Mexican oregano
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground cumin seed
  • 3 cups salt
  • 1 large bottle (1 pt. 6 oz.) mocha or chocolate stout
  • 5 qts. water


  1. Combine all ingredients and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Strain the brine and  inject the pig with large BBQ syringe. (Available at Safeway and many other grocery stores.)
  3. Marinate the pig overnight.
  4. Prepare according to Caja China cooking directions.

Yield from a 60 lb. whole pig:

  • Food for 18 adults the day of the party plus another two 2 person meals (about ½ of the pig)
  • 6 lb. shredded pork
  • 3 ½ lbs. sliced ham and pork loin
  • 3 gal. pork stock
  • 1 gal. demi glace (highly concentrated meat juices from the BBQ drip pan)
  • 4 smoked ham hocks
  • 2 qts. rendered pork fat
  • 2 cups chicarrones or pork  cracklings from rendering the fat
  • 6 cups prepped pork skin strips for pork rinds at a later date
  • 3 qts. scraps for the dog (My dog will not eat eyeballs, fyi.)
  • 2 cups meat from the head for a pork terrine

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