Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pernil (Roasted Pork)

Pernil (Roast Pork Shoulder)

There is no meal I love better than a pernil. When I was a child I paced in and out of the kitchen the entire six hours it cooked. When I was vegetarian I dreamed about it. When I cooked for two I hoped for an army to suddenly appear at my door and demand a good meal. If I was ever to commit a heinous crime and had my choice of a last meal...well, you see where I am going with this.

Roasted pork shoulder is a traditional family, and Puerto Rican, dish. Usually served for Christmas or special occasions it is always accompanied by yellow rice, good rum, and great friends. I've been aching for an reason to cook one and I finally got it when Kyle made the Dean's List. As you can see in the picture above it turned out scrumptious. Below is my recipe for a ten pound bone-in pernil. Boneless works just as well just remember that you might have to adjust the mojo accordingly. Sour orange juice can be found in the hispanic/mexican/ethnic aisle in your grocery store. If not available, mix 1/3 cups of lemon juice with 2/3 cup of orange juice. I also advise letting the pork shoulder marinate overnight in the mojo but this is not necessary.

Pernil Asado

8-10lb pork shoulder, pork butt, or picnic roast
12 cloves of garlic


12 cloves of garlic
1/4 c bitter (sour) orange juice
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoons ground black pepper

In a food processor, mix all the mojo ingredients into a paste. Taste and adjust salt and pepper accordingly. Put aside.

Preheat oven to 325F.

Fat side down, make several deep stabs into the pork shoulder (I make about six). Stick a peeled garlic clove into each stab. Rub about 1/3 of the mojo into the shoulder making sure to get some into the pockets (the stabs you just made).

Turn pernil over so fat side is now up. Stab pernil in the same manner as before and stick a garlic clove into each stab. Rub 1/3 of mixture into the pockets. Now score the skin on top in a diamond pattern (see picture above) and rub rest of mojo all over the shoulder. You want some on the top, the sides, etc. This is what makes a very tasty chicharron or cuerito (crunchy skin). Marinate overnight. If you don't have the time, continue with recipe as follows.

Place in a heavy roasting pan and cover with foil or lid. Roast at 325F for six to seven hours, until shoulder is brown and tender. Raise temperature to 450F, remove foil, and roast for another 15 minutes to let skin crisp. Alternatively you can put it under the broiler if you have one.

Let rest for 15 minutes before carving. Serve with warm potato salad, yellow rice, and lots of rum. ¡Buen Provecho!


Bakin Rapscallion said...

The mojo (mo-ho) will give you mojo.
This should be on everyone's holiday

mikie said...

There is no Cilantro in your Pernil Recipe. ?

I like it in mine,

Jessica said...

If I can get it fresh, I use it sometimes. Personally, I know a lot of people who don't like cilantro (they think it tastes like soap) so I leave it out 99% of the time.