Many, many moons ago, I published my recipe for pernil, the delicious Puerto Rican roasted pork butt/shoulder. Recently, I had a whole Saturday afternoon to try a longer and slower cooking method for my bone-in pork butt. I have to tell you, if you have the time I would advise cooking it this way as you will have meat absolutely dripping moist and falling off the bone. The quicker method in my earlier recipe is a very good way of cooking the pork if you don’t have 8-9 hours to kill waiting to tear into the pernil. But, if you do remember to put your pork in by 11AM, you will not be disappointed by the results of low and slow cooking.
I am cutting and pasting the old pernil recipe here and adding my alternative “Low and Slow” cooking time. I hope you’ll give it a shot – and let me know what you think! Remember to allow your pernil to marinate overnight for the best results!!
- 1 Bone-In Pork Shoulder (5-10 Pounds depending on how many you want to feed, 5 Pounds will feed 4-5 hungry people)
- 5-8 Cloves garlic, some chopped, some sliced
- Adobo (or a mixture of garlic power, onion powder, cumin, black pepper, salt and oregano)
- 1 Bottle of Sour Orange Marinade (or 2 Oranges and 1 Lime OR 1 Cup OJ and 2 Limes)
- 1 Large Onion, chopped up
- olive oil
SO the night before you cook the meat (or, if you prefer to not let it sit, then the half hour before you cook the meat):
What to do for the marinade:
- Take your big-ass, delish pork shoulder/butt, place it in a baking dish skin-side up and rub it with some olive oil then sprinkle it all over w/ adobo (Goya makes a few versions of this that you can keep in your spice cabinet or you can make your own by sprinkling garlic power, onion powder, cumin, black pepper, salt and oregano all over the pork). WHEN I SAY SPREAD IT ALL OVER I MEAN SPREAD IT ALL OVER. Don’t be afraid of putting on too much.
- Cut slices of garlic up from about 3 cloves of garlic – make slices thick-ish. (NOTE: If you have the extra time, make a paste out of your garlic by smashing it in a mortar and pestle w/ a bit of salt to aid in the smashing until it has the consistancy of a spreadable paste.) ****NOTE: This recipe uses alot of garlic b/c we love alot of garlic. If you don’t like the taste of garlic, maybe this recipe isn’t the best for you.
- Take a sharp knife (a steak knife should be fine) and make 1-inch wide (1 inch deep or so) slits all over the pork, skin and all. Every time you make a slit, slide in a slice of garlic into the slit. It’s best if the garlic goes into the hole all the way. If it doesn’t, again, don’t worry… just make a bit of a deeper slit next time. (NOTE: If you made the garlic paste, then just slide a bit of the paste in each slit instead of the sliced garlic.)
- MAKE MARINADE IN SEPARATE BOWL: Add one cup of sour orange juice (again, Goya makes a bottled version, I’m sure it’s not as tasty as the real ones, but sour oranges aren’t around all the time to buy) to 3 cloves of chopped garlic and 1 chopped large onion. Add a sprinkling of salt and pepper and well as some extra oregano. Mix. (NOTE: You can also substitute sour orange w/ a cup of regular Orange Juice mixed w/ the juice of two limes, or juice of 2 oranges, juice of 1 lime.)
- Pour your marinade over your pork. Let sit for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight).
Cooking the Pernil:
- Fat side up, place pork in a roasting pan along with the rest of the marinade. Add a bit of liquid if necessary (water or some chicken stock) – so it comes up about 1/2 an inch high. Make sure there’s always some hot liquid at the bottom to mix with the drippings. (This is not necessary – I just liked it this way).
- Heat the oven to 475 degrees and cook pork uncovered for 1 hour.
- After the hour is over, turn oven down to 275 degrees, tent pork with some tin-foil and cook for 8 to 9 hours on this low setting. (You want to cook the pernil for an hour to 1 1/2 hours per pound for low and slow versus the quicker cooking of pernil where I recommend a 1/2 hour to 45 minutes per pound).
- Don’t forget to remove the foil from the top of your pork about 30-40 minutes before your done cooking it. This will crisp up your pork skin only so much. If you are looking to make chicharron by removing the top layer of skin after it’s been cooked (as I did – see first picture, top of post) and frying it up a bit.
- Allow to rest for 15 minutes to a half hour before slicing and serving. ENJOY.
REMEMBER, YOU CAN NOT OVERCOOK PERNIL IF YOU DO IT LOW AND SLOW. THE FAT BASTES THE CHEAP AND OTHERWISE TOUGH CUT OF PORK SO DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT!
Check out another pernil post:
Pernil: Easy & Cheap