Pernil pork roast

21 02 2013

Pernil is roasted pork shoulder, seasoned to the max with garlic, cumin, oregano, vinegar, and lime. It is served with rice and beans or sweet plantains. Cold Pernil is sliced thin, paired with Swiss cheese, pickles and ham to make the famous Cuban sandwich. 

Pernil-Style Pork Tenderloin
8 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
6 small shallots, coarsely chopped
4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
4 Tbs. distilled white vinegar
1 tsp. chili powder
1 packet sazon goya (found in most supermarkets in the ethnic aisle)
1/2 teaspoon adobo seasoning (found in most supermarkets in the ethnic aisle)
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
1-2 tsp salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
5 -8 lbs pork shoulder
4 limes cut into wedges

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl mix garlic, shallots, salt, pepper, cumin and oregano.

With a sharp knife make deep cuts into the pork only on the meat side, and stuff the garlic mixture into the slits.  The more cuts the better the flavor.

Sprinkle the other seasoning (chili powder, sazon goya, adobo) all over the outside.  Rub the seasonings in, making sure the entire surface is covered.  Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar and the juice of 2 limes.

Put the pork into the 350 oven, skin side down on a rack in a nonstick roasting pan, uncovered, for 1 hour, then turn the heat down to 225.  Roast one more hour skin-side down, then turn skin-side up for the remaining time.  Using a meat thermometer, make sure it reaches 155 degrees.  Usually I roast this cut for 4-6 hours depending on the weight and size (thinner roasts cook a little faster, thicker ones are slower.)

Remove from the oven and remove to cutting board, then tent with foil and allow the meat to rest for 20-30 minutes.  During this time, the juices will “settle” into the meat, and the internal temperature will rise to 160 due to residual cooking heat.  Serve with rice and beans, the pan juices, and squeezing the remaining two limes over the roast.  Fried plantains are also excellent with this dish.

Photo courtesy of and recipe loosely based on one found here on



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