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
- Combine all ingredients and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Strain the brine and inject the pig with large BBQ syringe. (Available at Safeway and many other grocery stores.)
- Marinate the pig overnight.
- 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