Puerto Rican Pernil

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Puerto Rican Pernil - Roast Pork Shoulder - Puerto Rican Recipes - Caribbean Recipes

Puerto Rican Pernil / Roast Pork Shoulder

Slow cooked, moist, tender and juicy with a flavorful, crispy skin. This recipe for Puerto Rican pernil or roasted pork shoulder is so mouthwatering, so good, it might make you forget about bacon!


  • 7 lbs. pork shoulder (with fat)
  • 9 garlic cloves (or 9 tsp garlic powder or ground garlic)
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp crushed oregano
  • 1½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tsp salt


  1. Mash the garlic together with salt, pepper, oregano and olive oil and mix well.
  2. Wash the meat and pat dry.
  3. With a sharp knife cut the fat away from the meat, leaving an edge attached and keeping it all in one piece.
  4. Season the side of the fat that goes over the meat with a bit of the seasoning blend.
  5. Make very deep slits all over the meat and season the meat thoroughly. Re-cover the meat with the fat and sprinkle it with salt.
  6. Refrigerate the shoulder covered with plastic wrap for 24 hours to marinate.
  7. Get the pork back to room temperature before cooking (about one hour).
  8. Place in a deep pan with the fat side up. There will be a lot of grease so use a pan at least 2″ deep. Do NOT cover with foil as the skin will not crisp.
  9. Preheat the oven to 400º and roast for one hour, then reduce temperature to 300º for about 4 hours or so – DO NOT TURN MEAT. When the meat is done, you can prick it on the side with a fork to see if it shreds. If the skin is not crispy enough, then leave it in the oven and raise the temperature to 400º until it is (another 15 minutes or so).
  10. Remove the meat from the oven and let it rest on the counter for about 20-30 minutes before carving.
  11. To carve, remove the skin completely and set aside. Carve the meat, cut the crispy skin into pieces and spread over the meat. Enjoy!