Cuban Roast Pernil: Pork Shoulder
I have always wanted to make a Cuban pork shoulder, with sour orange juice, lots of garlic and oregano and spices, but there were so many different recipes out there that I became confused.
I finally decided on Jonny and Amy's recipe, because their recipes never fail.
Pernil translates to HAM in Catalan. Catalan is the language of Barcelona, not to be confused with Spanish (jamon) what the rest of Spain calls it.
My dilemma: to cover the pork or not to cover. If you are lucky enough to find a pork shoulder (also known as a Boston Butt, which I like saying better) with the skin on it, then what you are going for is crispy skin and succulent meat. Since I was not able to find skin on my butt, I cooked it covered with foil.
You want a lot of garlic and seasoning here, so don't be scared with the amounts. You cut little slits all over the butt and tuck slices of garlic deep inside the cuts. Marinate in a simple sour orange juice (which you can buy at Latino markets or just make yourself with a cup of orange juice and juice of 2 limes).
I prepared this one day ahead so the pork had time to meet his garlic and seasoning friends and sit in the acidic marinade.
I served the Pernil with chopped brussels sprouts that I threw into the roasting pan with the pan drippings and cooked on the stove so they were glazed and wonderful. A splash of balsamic vinegar on them at the end made them sing.
Pernil (Roast Puerto Rican or Cuban Pork Shoulder): (adapted from We Are Never Full)
5-8 lb. bone in pork shoulder (preferably w/ skin on)
5-8 cloves garlic, sliced (you will need more garlic for the marinade)
a mixture of garlic power, onion powder, cumin, black pepper, kosher salt and oregano (I used about 2 tbsp of each dried spice to make the adobo mixture)
1 bottle of sour orange marinade (or 1 cup of orange juice and 2 limes)
1 onion, chopped up
3 minced garlic cloves
Mix the orange and lime juice with the onions and 3 minced garlic cloves in a bowl. This is your marinade.
Place the pork butt in the a large roasting pan.
Make deep cuts in the pork butt all over and tuck the garlic slices deep inside the meat. Rub all over with olive oil.
Using your hands, season the pork liberally with the dried spice mixture. Cover the entire piece of meat. You can not have too much garlic or spices on this thing. The more the better.
Slowly pour the juice onion marinade over the pork and around it. Season again with more kosher salt and pepper and oregano.
Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight, or for 24 hours.
To cook the pork: the rule of thumb is usually about 1 hour per pound.
I had a 5 lb. shoulder, so I cooked it at 350F for 4 hours covered with foil, then turned the heat down to 300F and cooked it another hour uncovered. It may seem a bit long, but the longer you cook this, the better it gets. You can even turn the heat down to 300 and cook it all day. Your house is going to smell delicious, just a warning.
I basted it the last hour (uncovered) continuously and it turned out a beautiful glazed, succulent meat that fell off the bone.
We had pulled pork w/ BBQ sauce and Cuban roast pork sandwiches w/ pickles and Gruyere for lunch with the leftovers all week.
A great and inexpensive Sunday dinner that feeds a crowd. Enjoy!