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Keto Cuban Pork (Lechón) Made In A Slow Cooker


This flavor-packed recipe for a Keto Cuban Pork (Lechón) is an authentic Cuban dish made easily in a slow cooker.

Enjoy all the classic flavors of Cuban “pernil” pork with minimal prep and effort by making it in a crockpot. If you are familiar with Cuban cuisine you know that it’s common practice to roast the entire pig. 

No doubt pork cooked in a Caja China is a very delicious way to eat pork, but it’s also tons of work. 

Cuban pork, lechón asado is commonly made for special celebrations and holidays because it’s usually a labor-intensive meal. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be since you can get equally great results in crock-pot.

The secret to this delicious pork dish lies in the tasty mojo marinade. Mojo simply means sauce. Cuban criollo mojos recipes can vary but they generally agree upon a few basic ingredients such as sour oranges, or Seville oranges, fresh garlic, salt, and pepper.

My recipe for keto mojo pork includes some extra herbs and spices since this is how I was taught to make pernil.

Cuban food to this day is my go-to food for comfort. This is why a keto Cuban pork recipe that could be easily made in a slow cooker became a must in my world.

Be sure to check out our entire collection of Keto Cuban Food for more delicious options!




Keto Cuban Pork (Lechón)

Keto Mojo Pork

Keto Mojo Pork (Slow Cooker)

Roasted pork, lechón is served on the regular here in south Florida but making sure I had a way to enjoy it on a low carb/ keto diet was a way to honor my heritage but still stay compliant to the keto lifestyle.

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Pork is actually a great option for anyone doing keto that consumes meat. Seasoning it with a Caribbean twist just makes it extra flavorful. 

By now you may have guessed that I am of Spanish descent. My dad is Cuban and my mom is from the Dominican Republic. This simply means that although I was born in the United States, I have proudly retained my Spanish roots.

This isn’t difficult to accomplish if you grew up in Miami as I did. There is a large Hispanic presence here and frankly, I never grew up feeling like a minority.

AND I’m grateful for my Hispanic heritage. Without a doubt growing up my parents did a great job to make sure I never forgot my roots.

How To Make Keto Mojo Pork

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keto pulled mojo pork on a baking sheet

Keto Cuban pulled mojo pork on a baking sheet

Nothing beats a whole hog that has been lovingly cooked for hours in a Caja China. It’s basically a wood box lined in metal that is then topped with a charcoal tray. 

Cooking in a Caja China is an all-day event, that builds the anticipation of the lechón finally being ready to eat. If ever invited don’t turn down the opportunity to experience the excitement behind this meal.

But let’s face it who has time to cook this way on a regular basis? This is why I use a slow cooker when I am craving mojo pork.

After the lechón is cooked in the slow cooker, I  place the shredded meat under the broiler for a few minutes to allow the meat to crisp up perfectly.

You can make keto mojo pork with basically any cut of pork. With a fattier cut of meat such as shoulder or pork butt, you will end up with a shredded style similar to carnitas. If you choose to use fresh uncured ham or shoulder joint, you will be able to slice the lechón.

keto carnitas tacos with keto tortillas

Keto carnitas tacos with keto tortillas

What Are Sour Seville Oranges?

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As far as the mojo marinade goes, I use sour oranges, lots of fresh garlic, cumin, paprika, and oregano.

If you are not familiar with sour oranges they are also known as bigarade oranges, bitter oranges, and marmalade oranges. These oranges are quite sour and would not be eaten raw in the same way you would eat navel oranges. 

You can purchase sour oranges at local Hispanic or Caribbean supermarkets labeled as “naranja agria”.

However, If you cannot find them, they can be substituted with a mixture of limes and unsweetened orange juice. This substitution will not exactly the same taste profile but it will still be quite delicious.

Another option is to use bottled sour orange such as Goya’s Marinade, Naranja Agria.

Keto Lechón Made In A Slow Cooker

keto Cuban pork in a slow cooker

Keto Cuban pork in a slow cooker

Because we all don’t have the luxury to eat pork that has been cooked slowly in a Caja China, a slow cooker will have to do.

Good news though, cuz cooking a low carb keto lechón in a slow cooker makes for one DELICIOUS option.

This recipe is a nod to my Dad’s homeland and reminds me of the importance of a good meal shared among family and friends.

So how does a low-carber accompany her? Easy, with a side of cilantro-lime cauliflower rice and a green salad.

Around these parts, saying NO to high carbs foods like rice, beans, and platanitos (sweet plantains) get lots of stares and questions.

You can also serve this keto mojo pork as carnitas using our keto tortilla recipe.

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Randy and I came to the keto diet looking at it from a Christian perspective, it’s the filter we choose to see from. When we decided to combine our Christian faith and the keto diet, we did so in hopes of finding lasting transformation.

To say we needed God’s intervention is putting it mildly. When we followed the Holy Spirit’s lead to embrace the ketogenic diet and to combine it with our faith, we got on the path to real transformation. 

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keto pulled mojo pork on a baking sheet

Keto Cuban Pork (Lechón)

Yield: 20
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes

Enjoy traditional Cuban cuisine with this recipe for Keto Cuban Pork. It is classic Cuban pork (Lechón) made easily in a slow cooker.


  • 4 pounds of pork shoulder
  • 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons of sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper flakes
  • 2 onions coarsely chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • ½ cup of sour orange juice (or substitute ¼ cup of lemon juice, ¼ cup of unsweetened orange juice not from concentrate if not available).
  • ½ cup of white wine or ¼ cup of white vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the sour orange juice, white wine vinegar, salt, oregano, cumin powder, garlic, and pepper flakes. Pour the marinade over the pork. Place the pork inside the slow cooker along with the onions and bay leaf. Cover and allow to cook on low for at least 6-8 hours.
  2. Once the pork is fork-tender, drain the meat and place it on a cookie sheet under a broiler until the meat crisps up.
  3. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 weeks.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 273Total Fat: 19.4gSaturated Fat: 7.2gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 63mgCarbohydrates: 0.8gNet Carbohydrates: 0.7gFiber: 0.1gSugar: 0.2gProtein: 21.2g

Did you make this recipe?

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Wednesday 17th of August 2022

Pernil is one of my family's favorites. Yes, it is quite labor intensive but sooooo worth it. And a side benefit is the crispy chicarones! Oh my!

Can't wait to try this recipe. Usually I have to resort to using commercial mojo but I prefer to make it from scratch.

Just as an aside - there is a mojo sold only in the Tampa Bay region (AFAIK) that tops all others. It doesn't have a Spanish name, either.

Perhaps they've expanded their market reach beyond Tampa Bay. I've used it for 25+ years.

Kirby's Mojo Criollo. It used to just be sold as Kirby's BBQ Marinade, if I remember right.

When I lived in Virginia I would take home at least half a dozen bottles. We couldn't buy it up there.

With your recipe, though, my kitchen can now become the Caja China.

Thank you!

Hilda Solares

Friday 19th of August 2022

Hi Donna, I hope you and your family are doing well. Enjoy the flavor of Pernil easily. Kirby's mojo crillo is still around and definitely a great option.

Steph Artley

Sunday 18th of April 2021

Hi, I just bought a butt roast, I have an electric smoker do you think it would be good to put it in the smoker I can control the temperature and make it low. Maybe cook it uncovered for a few hours for the smoke to get to it and then cover it?

Hilda Solares

Monday 19th of April 2021

Hi Steph, I have not tested this recipe in a smoker but it should work well. In traditional Cuban pork, it is cooked in a pit a low and slow heat. Enjoy!


Sunday 7th of July 2019

Doesn't the juice kinda make it not keto?

Tana M.

Tuesday 15th of January 2019

Hi! I am in the middle of making this recipe with a "picnic pork shudler, bone-in". Will this be ok? Do you shred the meat off before broiling it?


Hilda Solares

Tuesday 15th of January 2019

Hi Tana, yes bone in pork shoulder will be great. The meat will fall of the bone and shred easily once cooked. At that point I broil it a few minutes. Can’t wait for you to try.

Kimberly A

Sunday 11th of November 2018

This recipe tastes just like the lechon I get at my local favorite cuban restaurant. Thank you so moch for such a delicious recipe!

Hilda Solares

Sunday 11th of November 2018

Hi Kimberly,so thrilled you enjoyed it Darling! It’s such an easy way to cook this Cuban classic.

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