Pernil

Recipe courtesy Mark Bittman

Photo: Pernil

TOTAL TIME: 3 hr 25 min
Prep: 10 min
Inactive Prep: 15 min
Cook: 3 hr
 
YIELD: At least 6 servings
LEVEL: Intermediate

ingredients

  • 1 (4- to 7-pound) pork shoulder or use fresh ham
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 or more cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves or 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ancho or other mild chile powder
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Directions

Heat the oven to 300 degrees F. Score meat's skin with a sharp knife, making a cross-hatch pattern. Pulse onion, garlic, oregano, cumin, chile, salt, and pepper together in a food processor, adding oil in a drizzle and scraping down sides as necessary, until mixture is pasty. Alternatively, mash ingredients in a mortar and pestle. Blend in the vinegar.

Rub this mixture well into pork, getting it into every nook and cranny. Put pork in a roasting pan and film bottom with water. Roast pork for several hours, a 4-pound shoulder may be done in 3 hours, turning every hour or so and adding more water as necessary, until meat is very tender. Finish roasting with the skin-side up until crisp, raising heat at end of cooking, if necessary.

Let meat rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting it up; meat should be so tender that cutting it into uniform slices is almost impossible; rather, whack it up into chunks. Serve with lime.

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  • on March 03, 2012

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    Saw this on tv this morning, and happened to have two bone-in pork butts in the fridge. I really like the rub - less fuss than others I've tried. The aroma of this cooking all day was intoxicating. I did turn every hour as suggested, and am glad I did. The end result is tender and flavorful. As with other pernil recipes I've tried, the seasoning does not penetrate through the meat, making the outer slices very flavorful, the inner slices not so much. I'll serve the outer slices tonight with mashed yukon golds and sauteed zucchini and corn. I'll add sauce for pulled pork or tacos to the less seasoned portion. Perfect for my rainy Saturday.

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