When Embargo ’62 celebrated the 1 year anniversary of their opening on North Shore, the plan was to use the family pig roasting box just as they had on every other big event in their memorable first year. This style of whole pig roast is a staple in Cuban culture. Unfortunately, things didn’t go to plan. As they begun prep for the big night, they realized the box had been stolen right off of the restaurant’s property. We met with Head Chef Eduardo Amoedo on the eve of the party. He still hadn’t settled on a solution for how to produce the juicy pork (lechon) many would enjoy the next day. The open flame is the key to an extra level of flavor, but it’s also quite the undertaking. Eventually, Chef Eddie and his team dug a hole and went with the traditional approach.

Only a daily basis, Chef Eddie and his team prepare and serve twelve, 9-pound pork butts. Embargo ’62 goes through eight and Ceniza, the sister restaurant, uses about four more. The two day cooking process starts with a family seasoning and an overnight marination with mojo. Mojo is a sauce traditionally made with garlic, olive oil, and a citrus juice. There’s no doubt this is family inspired as well. The next day, the pork is roasted for 8 hours, then shredded and used in two staple dishes at each restaurant.

The Pan Con Lechon is a sandwich we eat about 3 times a month for lunch. The simple Cuban bread is buttered and seared. Then it gets covered with a mound of the juicy pork and a few pickles. A handful of Mariquitas (lightly fried Plantain chips) is served as the traditional side dish. The picture below is a special version for the 4th Of July on a grilled bun and served with Cuban potato salad.

If you’re looking for a heftier meal, go for the entree-version of the delicious pork dish. It includes considerably more meat and your choice of two sides. Yucca con mojo, yellow rice, sautéed vegetables, congri, or sweet plantains are among the authentic options.