Food Recipes

Puerto Rican Pernil: Slow-Roasted Pork Heaven – Hispanic Food Recipes

Pernil is a staple dish in Puerto Rican cuisine, and for good reason. This slow-roasted pork shoulder is melt-in-your-mouth tender, with a deeply flavorful and crispy skin. It’s the perfect dish for a special occasion or a casual family dinner.


  • 1 (7-8 pound) bone-in pork shoulder
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons adobo seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon sazón con culantro y achiote seasoning
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 1 green bell pepper, halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup water (optional)


  1. Prep the Pork:
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  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Trim any excess fat from the pork shoulder, but leave some of the fat cap for flavor.
  3. Using a sharp knife, make deep slits all over the pork shoulder.
  4. Rub the olive oil, adobo seasoning, and sazón seasoning all over the pork, making sure to get it into all the nooks and crannies.
  5. Stuff the garlic cloves into the slits in the pork.
  6. Marinate (Optional):
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  1. For even more flavor, you can marinate the pork for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight. Place the pork in a large dish or bag, add the marinade ingredients, and toss to coat.
  2. Roast the Pernil:
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  1. Place the pork shoulder, fat side up, in a roasting pan.
  2. Add the onion, bell pepper, bay leaves, and oregano to the pan.
  3. Pour in the water, if using (this helps create steam and prevent the pork from drying out).
  4. Cover the pan tightly with foil.
  5. Roast for 4-5 hours, or until the pork is very tender and the internal temperature reaches 190°F (88°C).
  6. Remove the foil and roast for an additional 30-45 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and golden brown.
  7. Rest and Serve:
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  1. Let the pernil rest for at least 15 minutes before shredding.
  2. Using two forks, shred the pork into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Serve the pernil with your favorite sides, such as arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), ensalada de coditos (macaroni salad), and fried plantains.


  • Use a good quality pork shoulder for the best results.
  • Don’t be afraid to use a generous amount of seasoning.
  • Marinating the pork is optional, but it will add extra flavor.
  • If the skin isn’t crisping up, you can increase the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C) for the last 15 minutes of cooking.
  • Let the pernil rest before shredding so the juices can redistribute and the meat stays tender.

Additional Notes:

  • Pernil is traditionally cooked in a “pilon,” which is a large, cast-iron pot. However, you can use a roasting pan or Dutch oven just fine.
  • If you don’t have adobo seasoning, you can make your own with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and cumin.
  • Pernil leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until warmed through.

I hope you enjoy this recipe for Puerto Rican Pernil! It’s sure to become a family favorite.

Here are some other variations of Pernil:

  • Cuban Lechón: Similar to Pernil, but often uses citrus juice in the marinade.
  • Dominican Puerco Asado: Similar to Pernil, but uses a different blend of spices.
  • Mexican Carnitas: Shredded pork that is simmered in lard or oil until tender.

No matter how you make it, slow-roasted pork is a delicious and satisfying dish that is perfect for any occasion.

Ann Shrott

I am a freelance writer with a deep passion for the latest trendy titles to produce content. What I'm striving for is to write about something well researched and make blogs sparkle. Keep on reading!

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