Crispy, juicy Puerto Rican Pernil (Roast Pork) is slow roasted until fall-apart tender. Seasoned with garlic and adobo for maximum flavor, your house will smell as incredible as it tastes!
Puerto Rican Pernil Recipe
For everyone looking for that special Christmas dinner – here it is! Forget the ham and turkey, this roasted Puerto Rican pork served on special occasions is where it is!
My husband pronounced this the best pork he ever ate and I have to agree! Crispy on the outside while juicy and tender inside, it’s slow roasted until it falls apart with the touch of a fork.
Keep scrolling for a how-to video at the end!
Oh and the flavor! With a whole head of garlic, it’s full of bold flavor, a hallmark of Puerto Rican-style cooking. Traditionally the garlic is mashed with a pilón (mortar and pestle), but I quickly puréed it in a small food processor.
It looks impressive upon the table, but no need to be intimidated since it’s really easy to make. The hardest part is enduring the tantalizing scent that fills your house while it bakes, but I promise it’s worth the wait! To get the full Puerto Rican flavor in every bite, you’ll need to season it the night before, so plan ahead for that.
Puerto Rican Pernil is typically made from a picnic cut pork shoulder, but I used a Boston butt (which is still the shoulder) since that’s what was available. Just make sure to get a shoulder with the fat cap still on it – it keeps the meat tender and flavorful. Plus, the crispy “chicharrón” like fat is the best part!
I recommend serving this with my Puerto Rican Beans, Puerto Rican Rice, a green salad and fresh bread for a complete meal. This would make a great alternative Christmas dinner or New Year’s menu! Buen provecho!
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Watch the video!
- 8-10 lbs pork shoulder
- 1 head of garlic, peeled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons adobo
- 2 packets of sazón (optional)
- Rinse pork in cold water and pat dry. With a paring knife, stab 1-inch slits all over the pork, top and bottom.
- In a food processor (or by hand if you have a pilón!), blend all the garlic, olive oil, black pepper and oregano until smooth. Fill each slit in the pork with about a teaspoon of the garlic paste. Sprinkle all sides of the roast with the adobo and sazón (if using) and rub pork with the spices. Place in a roasting pan that has sides at least 2 inches deep, cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350°F. Leave the roast covered with foil and bake for 4-5 hours, approximately 30-45 minutes per pound. Pork should read 180°F on an internal thermometer and shred easily with a fork.
- Uncover roast and bake for 15-20 minutes to crisp up the fat, or broil at 500°F for 10 minutes, watching carefully not to burn.
You’ll find more information about Puerto Rican ingredients here. Or, check out all of my recommendations in my Amazon store!