Pernil Perfection

Pernil, seasoned and cooked pork shoulder, is a traditional Puerto Rican dish served at Holidays and special occasions. It creates it’s own holiday of aroma and flavor as you slow cook the pork to perfection.

For meat lovers it has all the hits- moist flavorful core, outstanding marbled slices and crispy “chicharrones” pieces of slow cooked skin that are tender and tangy.

Brining is important and will give you a better product in the end, adding moisture and sweetness to the joint.

Sides can include yellow rice “arroz amarillo”, beans “habechuelas”, squash, potatoes, avocado salad, roasted corn, watermelon salad or any seasonal veggies.


• 7-8  lbs pork shoulder (bone in) and one onion chopped


• 4 limes, juiced
• Half a cup of Orange Juice
• 15 garlic cloves, mashed or food processed
• 4 tablespoons fresh oregano or cilantro
• salt & fresh ground pepper
• 1⁄4 cup soy sauce
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 cup vinegar
• water


Day 1

1. Make the marinade. In medium bowl, combine garlic, lime juice, oregano, soy sauce, olive oil and salt and black pepper. Give it a brief blast in the food processor. Set aside.
2. Wash the pernil in vinegar and water, pat dry with paper towel. Place on a cutting board fat side up. Cut a flap leaving the fat in a single piece and attached at one end, use a knife to remove the layer of fat from the shoulder, opening it like a book to reveal the meat. Then, use the knife to poke 1-inch deep holes into the meat on all sides (about 20 holes).
3. Place pernil in roasting pan skin side up. Rub the marinade all over the pernil, making sure you pour a little of it into to the holes. You can stick extra garlic in here, too. Return the skin back to its original position. Score the skin with diagonal cuts and sprinkle salt to taste over the skin.
4. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.

Day 2

1. Remove pernil from refrigerator 45 minutes before roasting. Rub with salt or Adobo. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Add a little water to the roasting pan so that it comes up about 1/2 inch up the sides.

2. Cook pernil uncovered for 45 mins to crisp the outside. Add chopped onions to the mix. Turn oven temperature down to 225 degrees F, tent pernil loosely with aluminum foil, and cook for 4 hours.

3. Let pernil rest for 10 minutes before slicing. You can now serve with rice and beans. Leftover meat is juicy, flavorful and only gets better the next day when you can use on tacos, Cuban sandwiches, in salads or any old way you please. I save some for my chili, but that is another story for another day.

JKS 9/26/17


Published by eringoscratch

I am a big man, home cook in a tiny kitchen in NYC. I hook it and cook it, buy it and fry it, and will show you around NYC!

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