This started out as a recipe for pernil I snagged out of the NYTimes a few years back. I've tinkered with it, and added the pineapple lime salsa, although it's great with just a spritz of fresh lime. I prefer to cook it on the grill, as the smell is so divine you'll have everyone in the house hovering over you asking when it will be done. Serve it with your favorite beans-and-rice, and fried plantains, and a talk, fruity drink with an umbrella in it, and Jimmy Buffett on the iPod. —Kayb
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe is fantastic. I will definitely make the pork again, and I'll be adding the salsa to my regular repertoire! The paste slathered on the pork a day before roasting -- a flavorful blend of onions, peppers, garlic, oil, vinegar and spices -- is so fragrant and saucy that it seeps into the roasting meat, making it tender, juicy, and delicious. And it was so easy! The pork literally fell off the bone, shredding in just under 5 hours, exactly as Kayb had described. I recommend mixing some of the pan juices in with the pork before serving, to make it even more juicy and tasty than it already was. The sweet, tangy salsa was a perfect complement to the bold flavors of the pork. I love fruity salsas, but never would have come up with this on my own! The fresh mint is definitely the kicker -- a clean flavor burst that highlights the sweet pineapple, and the garlicky pork. - Loves Food Loves to Eat —The Editors
Score pork skin in a crosshatch pattern, not cutting through to meat. Salt and pepper shoulder and set aside.
In a food processor, put onion, peppers, garlic and spices and pulse until finely minced. Add olive oil as needed and process to make a paste. Blend vinegar into paste.
Rub paste all over shoulder, being sure to get it inside all the little cracks and crevices. Wrap shoulder tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, film bottom of a roasting pan with water and place roast skin side up on a rack; roast in 300-degree oven for at least four hours, more likely 5, until very tender. Add more water to bottom of pan if necessary, if pork begins to dry out.
Combine diced pineapple, pepper, onion, mint and lime juice and allow to sit at room temperature for an hour or so to let flavors meld and develop. Just before serving, dice and add avocados and toss.
When pork is fork-tender, remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes (this is DIFFICULT!) before serving with salsa.
I'm a business professional who learned to cook early on, and have expanded my tastes and my skills as I've traveled and been exposed to new cuisines and new dishes. I love fresh vegetables, any kind of protein on the grill, and breakfasts that involve fried eggs with runny yolks. My recipes tend toward the simple and the Southern, with bits of Asia or the Mediterranean or Mexico thrown in here and there. And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a float in the lake, as pictured, is a pretty fine lunch!