Recipe courtesy of Mark Bittman

Pernil

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr 25 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Inactive: 15 min
  • Cook: 3 hr
  • Yield: At least 6 servings
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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

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil, as needed

1 tablespoon wine or cider vinegar

Lime wedges, for serving

Directions

  1. 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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