Just last week I prepared tamales with roast pork and salsa verde. When I went grocery shopping for the ingredients, the smallest pork shoulder they had was 4 pounds. So I decided to use half for the tamales and half for today's lunch: a roasted pork sandwich with aji cilantro sauce. Most people serve pulled pork sandwiches with BBQ sauce and coleslaw, but I wanted to make a lighter, fresher sandwich. I think I hit the jackpot with this recipe!
Slow Roasted Pork Sandwich with Aji Cilantro Sauce
Slow roasted pork
- 2 lb pork shoulder
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 onion cut into large chunks
- 4 cloves garlic
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 red onion thinly sliced
- ½ cup white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 aji pepper
- ½ bunch of cilantro stems included
- 5 green onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- juice from ½ lime
- ¼ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 avocados
- juice of ½ lime
- 4 hamburger buns toasted
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Season the pork with salt and pepper. Combine 2 tablespoon olive oil with 2 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon paprika, and 1 teaspoon coriander. Rub the spice mix on the pork. Place the cut onion and 4 cloves garlic in the bottom of a baking dish and pour 2 cups chicken broth in the pan. Place the pork on top, wrap with foil and roast in the oven for 2 - 2 ½ hours or until fork tender. The pork should easily shred with a fork when ready. Shred and keep warm until ready to make sandwiches.
- While the pork is roasting, prepare the pickled red onions. Heat the vinegar in the microwave for 30 seconds and add the sugar and salt. Stir until dissolved and pour over the red onions. Let sit for at least 5 minutes or overnight.
- Prepare the aji cilantro sauce. Blend together 1 aji pepper with ½ bunch cilantro, 5 green onions, 2 garlic cloves, the juice of ½ lime, and ¼ cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Mash the avocados and season with salt and lime juice. Spread a generous portion of the avocado on each of the buns, about ½ an avocado per sandwich. Top with the shredded pork, pickled onions and aji sauce. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Slow roasted pork is just bound to be delicious. I mean just imagine the meat absorbing all of the spices and breaking down to produce the most tender pork. Drooling yet? Well, then let's get started!
Start by making the pork since it takes the longest to prepare. Season it with a generous amount of salt and pepper, coat in the spice mixture, and place it in a baking dish with chopped onions, garlic, and chicken broth. You can also prepare the pork in the instant pot or slow cooker. If braising it in the oven, cover the baking dish and roast until the pork easily falls apart.
If you roast the pork the day before, shred it while it's hot and keep it in its juices to prevent it from drying out. Reheat in the oven covered until warm.
While the pork is roasting, make the pickled onions and aji sauce. When preparing the aji sauce, you may find it difficult to find aji peppers especially if you are in the United States. Substitute with jalapeno or serrano, discarding the seeds before adding it to the sauce.
Assemble the sandwiches, spreading a heaping amount of mashed avocado on the bottom bun followed by the pork, aji sauce, and pickled onions.
I was worried that this roasted pork sandwich with aji cilantro sauce may be dry but it was far from it! All of the ingredients worked together to create one amazing sandwich. Get a bite of the creamy avocado with the tender pork, tart onions, and fresh aji sauce for a party in your mouth. A great combination of flavors without packing all the calories. You can even serve these as sliders for your next gathering!
For more pork sandwich inspiration, check out this porchetta sandwich with salsa verde.