Few things can complement the toasty richness of roasted meats quite like the refreshing taste of cider. Fortunately, this recipe — and Austin Eastciders’ new restaurant and taproom in South Austin — has both.
The traditional recipe for a Cuban mojo pork roast calls for oranges, so incorporating Austin Eastciders’ Blood Orange Cider was a no brainer according to Ben Cachila, overseer of the menu at the cidery’s new restaurant and taproom, Barton Springs. “This pork mojo recipe eats like pulled pork in a garlic marinade,” he says. “The sauce cuts the richness with acid and a little bit of sweetness.”
The Blood Orange Cider is a zesty, dry cider. On the palate, it provides a cleansing aspect to the dish of braised, rich meat, bubbling over with herbs and aromatics.
Barton Springs opened late last month in South Austin as an extension of Austin Eastciders. The menu puts a unique spin on casual dining, featuring pizza, sandwiches and smoked meat dishes that incorporate bright flavors embellished with herbs, citrus and greens, to counterbalance the heaviness of the dishes.
Cachila says the food items offered at Barton Springs were designed with the intention of pairing with any of Austin Eastciders’ array of traditional-crafted ciders offered on the menu. “Cider pairs remarkably well with a lot of things,” he adds. “These variations of sweetness and dryness bridge the tastes of cider to the richness of the foods on the menu.”
Barton Springs is currently offering dine-in service and takeout options. The outdoor patio features a children’s play area, a stage for live music and a walk-up window where you can order a pint and a bite to eat while relaxing in the cider garden.
“The goal with Barton Springs was to create an environment and a platform for the Eastciders brand to express itself,” he says. “This was the perfect way to let locals, out-of-towners and tourists connect great ciders with great food.”
Austin Eastciders Blood Orange Pork Mojo
¼ cup minced garlic
½ cup Austin Eastciders Blood Orange Cider
¼ cup fresh orange juice
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons toasted and ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
Kosher salt, to taste
1 6-8 pound pork shoulder
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
Lime wedges, for serving
Combine the first eight ingredients in a large bowl and whisk. Season, to taste, generously with salt. Add half of the marinade to the pork shoulder and put in a vacuum sealed bag or large ziplock. Refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place the pork and its juices on top and fold up the foil, crimping to seal loosely but making sure there is room for air to circulate inside.
Place in the oven and roast for 3 hours. Fold back the foil, increase temperature to 325°F (163°C) and roast, basting the pork with pan juices occasionally, until the roast shows almost no resistance when a metal skewer or knife is inserted into it and the surface is crackly and brown, 2 to 3 hours longer. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
Pour the pork juices into a bowl and discard all except 1 cup. Add the reserved mojo marinade to the pork drippings, along with fresh chopped mint and oregano. Whisk together and season to taste with salt.
Serve by slicing or shredding, passing mint mojo and lime wedges on the side. Serve with rice, plantains, beans or tortillas on the side.