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Puerto Rican Pernil (Roast Pork)

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! VIDEO included.

Puerto Rican Pernil (Roast Pork) is crispy, juicy and so full of flavor! The best roast pork I ever had! | Kitchen Gidget

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.

Puerto Rican Pernil (Roast Pork) is crispy, juicy and so full of flavor! The best roast pork I ever had! | Kitchen Gidget

Keep scrolling for a how-to video at the end!

Puerto Rican Pernil (Roast Pork) is crispy, juicy and so full of flavor! The best roast pork I ever had! | Kitchen Gidget

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.

Puerto Rican Pernil (Roast Pork) is crispy, juicy and so full of flavor! The best roast pork I ever had! | Kitchen Gidget

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 (Roast Pork) is crispy, juicy and so full of flavor! The best roast pork I ever had! | Kitchen Gidget

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 “cuero” skin is the best part!

I recommend serving this with my Puerto Rican BeansPuerto 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!

Pin this to your Dinner board!

Puerto Rican Pernil (Roast Pork) is crispy, juicy and so full of flavor! The best roast pork I ever had! | Kitchen Gidget

Pernil (Puerto Rican Pork) is crispy, juicy and so full of flavor! The best roast pork I ever had! | Kitchen Gidget

Puerto Rican Pernil (Roast Pork)

Yield: 12-20 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Marinate Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 13 hours 15 minutes

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!

Ingredients

  • 8-10 lbs bone-in pork shoulder (picnic cut or boston butt)
  • 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)

Instructions

  1. Rinse pork in cold water and pat dry. With a paring knife, stab 1-inch slits all over the pork, top and bottom.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 216

Nutritional information provided is an estimate only. Please consult the labels of ingredients you use for more accurate results.

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a comment below! Or tag @kitchengidget on Instagram with the hashtag #kitchengidget

You’ll find more information about Puerto Rican ingredients here. Or, check out all of my recommendations in my Amazon store!

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C.p.

Thursday 4th of March 2021

I never heard of someone cooking pernil with rice and beans. It's like a sin. Is rice with gandules.

Rebekah

Thursday 4th of March 2021

I love arroz con gandules but habichuelas guisadas are my FAVORITE!

Juan Peña

Thursday 31st of December 2020

Very nice : I'm from PR and I love cooking. I just tuned in for the timing. (I always forget) I have my own seasoning method ( I mix home made sofrito, garlic paste, all seasoning(its a herb mix with a green cap) , adobo , salt pepper and a bit of steak seasoning for extra kick, 2pk of sazon(for color and flavor depth), a tiny bit of olive oil and about 2 scoops of butter to make a spreadable paste that will stick to the pork shoulder inside and out - marinate for one night - pop on the oven covered in foil for about the same time at same temp. Comes out awesome every time. Ill keep yours in my bookmarks I like to have references :) and yours is preety great.

Tarsis

Wednesday 23rd of December 2020

Hi! I just seasoned the pernil this am. Will be making it for Christmas Eve dinner for my fiancé and I, and since it’s just the 2 of us I bought a smaller cut. For how long should I cook it? it is about 2.9 lbs. and I don’t want to overcook it. Thanks!!

Tarsis

Wednesday 23rd of December 2020

@Rebekah, thank you y Feliz Navidad!!

Rebekah

Wednesday 23rd of December 2020

I'd start with 2 hours until fork tender. Merry Christmas!

Jim

Saturday 5th of December 2020

So I am not peeling skin back to marinade under? Thanks in advance.

Rebekah

Saturday 5th of December 2020

You can. I like to slice and stuff but lots of people put it underneath the whole skin.

Genevieve

Monday 5th of October 2020

I like to marinate it the night before. Seal in a clear plastic food bag and refrigerate. It seals in the ingredients. So worth it!!

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