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February 19, 2015



Slow cooked pork butt marinated in a dry rub and cooked in a white wine/orange juice until fork tender. Served shredded on buns.

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Hi everyone! What I am sharing with you today is one of my food loves. Love! Love! Love! Cacoila was my introduction to Portuguese food. I was addicted to this delectable amalgamation of slow-roasted pork and spices the very first time I had it, mainly because it was very much like the pulled pork sandwiches I had as a child in Vietnam. This sandwich is very simple—pork and bread, but the flavor is so incredible! If you try this, you will understand why this savory, aromatic, salty, tender, juicy, slow-cooked pork ranks as one of my personal favorite dishes.   

My recipe is an adaptation of one I found by Richard Methia. I have made it a couple of times before, making adjustments along the way. As with any other slow-cooked meat, the optimal cut to use for cacoila is one with a lot of marbling and fat. I use boneless pork butt as Richard recommended. One notable deviation from his recipe is the marinating process. I marinaded the pork in a dry rub overnight—the original recipe did not. Another adaption I made was lowering the oven temperature to 250 degrees F instead of the recommended 325 degrees. I find that I get tender and more consistent result cooking meat at the lower temperature.

In the past, the only time I was able to enjoy these sandwiches was when I visited my favorite Portuguese take out restaurant 90 miles away.  I would only have it a couple times a year. Now that I have very closely replicated the recipe, I will be able enjoy cacoila whenever I want! And it is so easy! I cut the pork into 1-inch cubes then let it marinade in a bag of dry spice rub overnight. The next day, the pork goes into a dutch oven along with white wine, orange juice, red wine vinegar, salt, and a bay leaf. Then it's into the oven for about 3.5 hours or until fork tender. Once done, I remove and shred the pork, skim the fat off the top of the drippings/marinade, stir the pork back in, then serve on a sub or a bulky roll. So wonderful!!

UPDATE: When this post was originally published, I provided a link to Richard Methia's site. Unfortunately, the link no longer exists and I have since removed it. But I want to thank Richard for providing the inspiration for this recipe.

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3 lbs. boneless pork butt
1 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. salt, divided
1 1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp. thyme or oregano (either one works well)
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 cup white wine (I use Casal Garcia Vinho Verde)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
6 bulky rolls or buns


Trim excess fat off pork. Don't take too much off—it is needed for flavoring. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Combine all of the dry spices (use only 1 1/2 tsp. salt) for the rub. Sprinkle on pork, place in a zip lock bag, and seal. Massage dry rub into pork. Refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.

Combine wine, orange juice, red wine vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Place pork and spices in a dutch oven. Pour liquid into dutch oven. Tuck in a bay leaf. Cover and bake for about 3.5 hours  or until fork tender.

Remove pork from oven. Shred using forks. Skim the top layer of fat off the pork dripping/marinade. Mix shredded pork back in the dutch oven. Serve rolls or buns. Makes 6 sandwiches.

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  1. I haven't had much Portuguese food but I love pork and this pulled pork sandwich looks amazing! Thanks for the visit!!

    1. I have not had tons of Portuguese food, but I have had have been so good. I hope you will get an opportunity to try some out. Thank you for stopping by too!

    2. It is very delicious I never made it and only way ive had it is at a protuguese festival every year. Now that I have the recipe I will attempt to make it and see if it taste the same. It is pulled pork but the spicy flavor is unbelieveable. I highly recommend u trying it if u like pulled pork

  2. This looks fantastic! I love the red wine version of the Portuguese marinated pork so can't wait to try yours. Thanks for sharing :)

    1. I hope you'll try it! I have made a red wine version once using a cacoila seasoning pack I bought, and it was very good. This white wine version, in conjunction with the spices, has flavors that I am more familiar with. But I love cacoila and will take it any way can get it! Thank you for visiting, Karrie!

    2. I am so happy that you Shared this. I only have eaten this sandwich at the portuguese festival and i love it so much. I always wanted the recipe and ive never asked any of my protuguese friends. I am greatful that you shared this I can not wait to give it a try. Only question is you said u used a dry rub, what kind of dry rub ???

  3. I love pulled pork and will have to give this a try soon! Thanks for linking up with What's Cookin' Wednesday!

  4. This looks so good, I like all the flavours in it. Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again. Have a great day!!

    1. Thanks Laura. I really love the combination of spices in this recipe.

  5. Do you think this would work in a crock pot? The flavors look amazing!

    1. I thought about making this recipe in a crock pot but have not done it yet. I think it would work out wonderfully in a slow cooker, set on low for about 8 hours or so. If you try it out, I'd love to hear about it!

  6. I am doing this recipe in a crock pot, wish me luck

    1. Good luck!! I thought about making in the crock pot too but have not tried it out. I'd love to hear how it turns out for you! :)

  7. I'm Using This Exact Recipe Tonight, But I'm Putting It In The Crock Pot Instead I Love When Meat Is Slow Cooked