This Cuban Mojo BBQ Sauce contains all the citrusy goodness of traditional mojo sauce in a tomato-based concoction. This barbecue works very well on pork and chicken. It can even be served at the table or as a dipping sauce for chicken wings.
What is Cuban Mojo?
The word mojo loosely translated into English means good luck. Cuban Mojo Sauce is a brightly flavored mixture used in Cuban cooking that contains juice of the bitter orange. It might be harder to find fresh bitter oranges in the states, so our mojo barbecue sauce recipe calls for regular orange and lime juices combined. If you live in an area where you can find bitter orange, then use 1 cup of the fresh squeezed juice for this recipe. Bottled bitter orange juice is also available online and in some grocery stores across the country.
What you’ll need to make Cuban Mojo BBQ Sauce:
- –A Blender: You’ll need a blender or food processor to puree some of the ingredients prior to simmering the sauce.
- –Orange Juice: Fresh squeezed is preferred, but a good quality orange juice is key to this recipe.
- –Ketchup: Yes, ketchup is actually a great base for barbecue sauces. It contains that tart, sugary flavor profile that helps to round out this sauce. If you are watching your sugar intake, use sugar-free or low-sugar ketchup.
- –Honey: An excellent sweetener for sauces, but again, if you are watching your sugar intake, substitute with certain fiber syrups and honey substitutes. For a vegan alternative, use agave syrup. For this recipe, start with two tablespoons of honey, add the other tablespoon if you want the sauce to be sweeter.
- –Tomato Paste: Your average grocery store tomato paste will work. If you use small amounts of tomato paste at a time, they offer it in tube form. Store it right in your fridge and use what you need.
- –Garlic and Cumin: The savory and earthy elements of this mojo BBQ sauce.
- –Fresh Herbs: Cilantro and oregano. You can also add fresh parsley.
Using a Cuban Mojo Sauce:
Slather onto grilled ribs or chicken during the latter half of cook time. Aim for about 3 separate applications to help the BBQ sauce set in. If you are cooking your ribs of chicken low and slow, start the application about 30-40 minutes before they come off the smoker.
Serve this Cuban sauce on the side for slow-roasted or smoked pork.
Make-Ahead and Store:
You can make this Cuban mojo sauce up to 5 days in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Store in vacuum-sealed bags in the freezer for up to 6 months.
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Cuban Mojo BBQ Sauce
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup orange juice the real stuff
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2-3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 tablespoon chopped parsley optional
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- Pinch of salt and black pepper
- Gather all of your ingredients
- Add all ingredients except ketchup and honey to a blender. Puree mixture in the blender and pour into a medium saucepan.
- Add the ketchup and tomato paste to the mixture and simmer on medium-high for 1-2 minutes, stirring often. Once the sauce starts to bubble, reduce heat to low and let the sauce continue simmering for an additional 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally. Sauce will reduce a bit.
- Once cooked, remove the saucepan from the heat, cover, and keep warm if planning to use it right away.
- If making ahead of time, remove the saucepan from the heat and let the sauce cool completely before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Double or triple this recipe based on your needs.