Bronx Pernil

I’m calling this Bronx Pernil because it’s a combination of what I’ve known to be Puerto Rican style pernil and advice from the homeland (the Bronx). It exceeded my expectations.

Bone-In Pork Shoulder (Mine was labeled “picnic cut”) @ 8 lbs

As many garlic cloves as you like (I used 2 heads) – 1/2 sliced thick, 1/2 chopped

Adobo (I make my own – salt, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, oregano)

-Equal amounts of everything & a large pinch of oregano… Or whatever you prefer, this is less salt than you’d think

Juice from 2 oranges & 2 limes

1 large onion, chopped

olive oil


Marinate the pork.

Place the pork in a dish large enough to come up at least 2 inches around. Cut into the skin and fat on top of the pork in a loose cross hatch pattern. Don’t cut down to the meat here. I make a few cuts in one direction and then diagonally. Then stab holes in the pork, all over, before it gets slick. The holes should be at least 1 inch deep. I stab and twist. Rub it with olive oil. Sprinkle adobo all over it. Push sliced garlic into the holes, as deep as possible. In a separate bowl, combine the citrus juice with the remaining garlic and onion. Add salt, pepper and oregano to taste. Pour over the pork, cover and marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours, preferably overnight. I let mine sit 2 days.

Cook the pork.

Place the pork in a roasting pan, fat side up, with the liquid. I don’t find the need to add water or stock, as the pork renders quite a bit, but liquid at least about 1/2 inch deep is what I look for as it cooks. I had far more than that, without adding anything additional. Heat the oven to 475 degrees fahrenheit and cook uncovered for one hour. Turn the oven down to 275 degrees, cover loosely with foil and cook for at least 8 to 9 hours. I estimated approximately 1.25 hours per pound, so mine was 10 hours at this temperature. Remove the foil for the last 30-45 minutes of cooking to crisp the skin and fat. I judge doneness with a fork. I poked it and pieces were falling off. Remove the pork, let it rest at least 30 minutes. I removed the pernil with two forks, pulling it away from the bone. Some shredded right away, some was more in chunks, who cares. If you come across meat that looks underdone throw it back in the oven until you’re happy with it. There was so much drippings that I poured it into a separate container. If you want to eat the skin and fat separately, the chicharron, and it isn’t crisped to preference, remove it from the meat in chunks, which should be easy, due to the cuts made prior to marinating. Place the pieces in a small roasting pan and into the oven, let’s say 350 degrees, until it’s rendered and crisped to preference. It can be fried instead of roasted, but I didn’t feel like it.

Pair it with whatever you want. So delicious. Simple prep, low maintenance cooking. And cheap! Less than $2/lb when I bought it last.

Pictures to follow.


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