Pernil or Roast Pork Shoulder


I have been hesitating to try cook in styles where they traditionally use a lot of onions or garlic. However, an occasion arose where I just had to try to make a pork roast in Puerto Rican style. I looked up recipes and they all called for onions and garlic, which I knew I had to leave out. So I developed my own again and we both ( my husband and I) thought that it turned out super well. This modified pernil recipe calls for cooking it longer and at lower temperature.   Cooking it longer at lower temperature will make it tender. As with all slow roasted dishes, you can play around with the temp and time to get the best result.

Traditionally, Pernil is served with rice and pigeon peas. I like to make my version of Spanish rice. After cooking 1 cup of rice, and chilling it, I sautee 2 celery stalks, ½ bell pepper and a tablespoon or so of parsley, 1 teaspoon cumin and Kashmiri chili powder, then add a little water, cover and let them cook. Once the vegetables are cooked, I add the chilled rice and 1 can of rinsed black beans mix well and cover and let it heat.

Pernil or Roast Pork Shoulder

Recipe by HeliCourse: MainDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time





Calories: 347kcal | Carbohydrates: 4.6g | Protein: 60g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 166mg | Sodium: 727mg | Potassium: 1131mg | Fiber: 2.6g | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 72mg | Iron: 5mg


  • 1 (4-pound) boneless pork shoulder

  • 5 celery stalks

  • 1 large green pepper

  • 1 small bunch of parsley

  • 6 bay leaves

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder

  • ¼ cup fresh oregano leaves

  • 2 tablespoons paprika

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2 teaspoon black pepper

  • Juice of 1 lime


  • Remove the fat on the pork shoulder as much as possible. Then, if it is a solid piece of meat, cut deeply once in each direction across the pork. Use a sharp knife to make about 20 slits, all over the meat. I had smaller pieces, so I did not need to do that.
  • Combine all the ingredients except the meat, salt and pepper in a food processor and process until smooth.
  • Place the meat in a 13 x 9 baking pan, or another shallow baking pan large enough to comfortably hold the meat with some space around it, generously sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides and then rub the mixture all over the meat, working it all over the surface and into the slits. Cover the pork with foil and refrigerate overnight.
  • Turn the oven to 350 degrees F, place the meat in the oven uncovered, for 1 ½  hours, then turn the meat and bake for another 1 ½  hours at 200 degrees F, until the pork is fall-apart tender. The internal temperature should be at least 165°.
  • Let the Pernil sit for at least 20 minutes, then use two forks to pull the meat into chunks. Serve hot with rice.

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