Cuban-Style Pork Chops or Castro’s juicest

Name: Chuletas de Puerco Criollas/ Cuban-Style Pork chops                          
Eaten in: Cuba                                                                                                                                
Foodie: Linda

Juicy and plump are the two adjectives that come to mind when describing these pork chops.  They have a distinct taste and texture from the marinade as well as a unique, full, orange color from the sauteed onions and the aceite de achiote. I served them to a friend for dinner and it definitely felt like a party.

Chuletas de Puerco Criollas/ Cuban-Style Pork chops

Serves 4-6
Prep time 1 hour
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Meal type Condiment


  • 8 to 12 thin slices center-cut pork chops, ½ to ¾ inch thick
  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic (or to taste)
  • teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup fresh bitter orange juice, or ¼ cup regular orange juice and ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ½ cup dry sherry or vino seco (Cuban dry cooking wine)
  • ¼ cup Aceite de Achiote (Achiote-Flavored Olive Oil), or ¼ cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon bijol (annatto seed seasoning)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced into rings


  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)


1. Place the pork chops in a nonreactive baking dish. Crush the garlic in a garlic press, then mix it with the oregano and cumin to form a paste. Rub the paste over the chops. Add the bitter orange juice and sherry. Cover and marinate, refrigerated, for 1 to 4 hours. Remove the chops from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Reserve the marinade.

2. Place the Aceite de Achiote in a large skillet over medium-high. When it is sizzling hot, add the chops in small batches and sear until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. As they are browned, remove the chops to a dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, if using, and set aside.

3. Add the onion to the skillet and sauté over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the reserved marinade and return the chops to the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, turning the chops once or twice, until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the chops to a warm platter and spoon the onions and pan juices over them. Serve with maduros (alloco) or rice.


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