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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!

Larissa Raineri

Sunday 11th of September 2022

It must be Christmas in my house every three months. We make Pernil often. We use this recipe but we put it in a crockpot all day and then we shred it to make pork tacos. I'm making it today and I can't wait!!!

M.Speaks

Monday 15th of August 2022

I’m making this tonight and I have made this Pernil recipe many times before. I started using it 4 years ago and it has always been a hit with my family and friends. One of my coworkers asked me who Puerto Rican grandmother I have hidden in my closet. Lol he said it was the best he has ever eaten so far and his half Puerto Rican himself. Thank you for sharing I also make the Arroz con gandules recipe from here as well. My sons can’t get enough of it.

Pat Bryan

Saturday 19th of March 2022

Very good recipe!! My abuelo from P.R. would have loved this. One improv I've done is to add the sazon and adobe to the garlic/pepper/olive oil/oregano. Then rub the outside with more sazon and adobo. Or, if you're into fusion, rub the outside with a traditional Southern BBQ rub (a lot of similar spices) and put it on a smoker.

Damian

Sunday 3rd of July 2022

@Pat Bryan, what was the temp of your smoker?

Lisa

Wednesday 1st of September 2021

Can I Crock-Pot this?

Rebekah

Thursday 2nd of September 2021

Yes, but it won't have the crispy skin.

Zuleyka

Saturday 7th of August 2021

I have a 7.5 lb pernil ready for tomorrow should I still do the 4-5 hours or what do you recommend???

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