Tag Archives: puertorican

Pernil Recipe



So in 2009 I promised I’d post up the pernil recipe to go with my tostones al ajillo. Life happens and things go crazy but mainly the reason why I never posted it,  is I always have my husband make the pernil. Nothing I make could compare to the meat mana that just melts in your mouth if you ever tasted my husband’s pernil. So here he is, in his first guest post with his yummy pernil recipe:

So… you want to make a pernil? Don’t panic. There are many ways to make a pernil and someone is always going to tell you that you’re doing it wrong. This is my pernil. There are many like it, but this one is mine. Change it up according to taste and availability of ingredients.

First thing you want to do is mix your rub. How much rub you make depends on how big of a pernil you want to season. Normally I like to buy a nine to twelve pound Boston butt, so I measure with a tablespoon. But if you use the smaller but still useful pork shoulder, you can get away with a teaspoon.

In a whiskey tumbler, bring together:

  • 1 part salt
  • 1 part black pepper
  • ½ part paprika
  • 1 part adobo
  • 1 packet of sazon con achiote
  • 1 part oregano
  • ½ part rosemary
  • ½ part basil
  • a ton of garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1 part soy sauce
  • 2 parts brown mustard
  • 2 parts rice vinegar
  • 3 parts olive oil

In other words, everything in your spice rack. Don’t panic, you haven’t gotten to the hard part yet. Now you’re going to take that slab of meat and peel back the skin using your sharpest knife, leaving the part closest to the bone intact so the skin stays put.

Now it’s time to get sexy with your meat. Grab a handful of seasoning and give your meat a thorough massage, lathering every crevice with your fragrant seasoning. Your hands are going to smell like seasoning all day, be proud and own the smell. Be especially diligent in the area that will be covered by the skin. Only put a little seasoning on the actual skin, just enough to give it a little color.

Did you have the foresight to buy a size appropriate disposable aluminum tray and aluminum foil? Good. Put the pernil in the tray, cover loosely with foil, and put it in the fridge overnight. Serve yourself a drink to congratulate yourself on a job well done. So far.
Count back twelve hours from dinner time. Set an alarm. When the alarm goes off, put your meat in the oven, still covered in foil, and set it for 230 F. No need to preheat the oven, there will be plenty of time for that. Now set an alarm for three hours before show time. That’s when you remove the foil. Save the foil for later.
What’s that? You don’t have twelve hours to cook meat? Don’t panic. You can cook the pernil in eight hours if you set the oven to 250 F, or in six hours of you set the oven to 275 F. Don’t ask me how I got these numbers, they just seem to work. But the meat really does benefit from a slow cook process, so plan ahead and make the time.
At the end of cooking time, remove your pernil from the oven. You need to let it sit for a while so the juices don’t all run out when you cut into it. Put your pernil on the biggest cutting board you have, cover it loosely with that foil you saved, and leave it alone for at least twenty minutes. You’ve been drinking and socializing, and you’re probably not done cooking, so use this time to finish your meal. That’s okay, nobody expects the food to be done on time anyway.


Cut your pernil into steak thick slices and serve. If you saved some of the juice from the disposable tray, you can make a bit of gravy from that, but the pernil is going to be juicy enough without gravy, so don’t worry about it. If you put the pernil in the broiler at a lowish, you can crisp the skin and make fresh pork rinds. But everybody should be too full from dinner to care about snacking later. Congratulations! You made pernil. Now go pass out on the couch and leave cleaning and giving away leftovers to the culinary impaired.

People gather around just for my husband’s meat.