Pernil- Puerto Rican Slow Roasted Pork

Updated: Aug 17, 2020


For the first time, I made a pernil with is a Puerto Rican version of a slow roasted pork shoulder. My mother use to make a pork shoulder every Christmas but she used lots of vinegar and crushed red pepper which is how pork shoulder is traditionally made in Eastern, NC. I wanted to try the Puerto Rican version so I made this for my husband as his Father's Day dinner. The process is pretty simple but you do need lots of patience because the pork needs to marinate overnight and roast for at five to six hours the next day. I served the pork with arroz con gandules which is Puerto Rican rice with Pigeon Peas and some fried sweet plantains. It is great dish to make for any holiday because it will feed a crowd. If you make it for just a few people, the leftovers are amazing. I used the leftover pork for pork tacos that I topped with mango salsa two days later. Recipe for the mango salsa coming soon.


Serves 8-10

  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic per pound

  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper per pound

  • ¼ teaspoon oregano per pound

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt per pound

  • 1/2 cup of olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon of paprika

  • 1 bone-in skin-on pork shoulder

  1. Rinse pork shoulder and pat dry. Use a sharp knife to separate the skin from the shoulder. (Do not completely separate the skin from the shoulder. Make slits in the meat to make pockets for the seasoning.

  2. Score the top of the pork shoulder just enough until you see the fat. I made vertical cuts in mine.

  3. In a small bowl, mix the minced garlic, seasonings with the olive oil.

  4. Using a small spoon stuff a spoonful of seasoning in each hole and the pockets under the skin. Making sure to leave some to rub the outside of the shoulder.

  5. Rub remaining seasoning on the outside and into the scored skin.

  6. Line a roasting pan with foil and place a roasting rack on top. This helps protects your pan. Transfer the shoulder to the roasting rack and cover tightly foil and refrigerate overnight to marinate.

  7. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Remove the pork from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for about an hour.

  8. Roast shoulder covered in the oven 35 - 40 minutes for every pound or until fork tender.

  9. Increase oven to 375 degrees.Cook pork, uncovered, for about two more hours until it is fall off the bone tender. You will notice the skin has crisped up as well. Broil on low for a few minutes if you want to get a really crispy skin.

  10. Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest 20 minutes. The pork will be so tender you won't have to really cut it. It will be more like pulled pork. Serve with arroz con gandules and fried plantains.





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