I inherited this recipe by exposure: as a child, it was made almost exclusively during the holidays, and I only first made it as an adult many years later guided by my memory. Thus, in my defense, ingredients and measurements are according to my memory of taste and currents predilections, just in case my Venezuelan grandmother sees this and calls me out for doing it wrong. In the summer, I like to serve it with a succotash-like of leeks, zucchini squash, sweet corn, and a few cherry tomatoes, but it just as well works with a white bean ragú, or roasted root vegetables. —alejandra
2 1/2 pounds
pork shoulder, boston butt, pernil
pepper to taste
In This Recipe
After cleaning and trimming the pork shoulder, rub generously with salt and the lemon. Place in a deep baking or roasting dish.
Purée in a blender: garlic, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, orange and pineapple juices and about a teaspoon of cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the marinade on pork shoulder, cover with saran wrap, and refrigerate for a few hours, or preferably overnight.
Take pork out of the fridge and bring to room temperature. Preheat oven to 450. In a large pan, sear the sides of the pork shoulder until they have a little color. Back in a roasting pan covered with tin foil, cook for 1 hour. Bring temperature down to 400 and cook for about 3 hours more, until fork-tender. For the last 20 minutes, cook uncovered.
Place the pork shoulder in a serving dish. Scrape all the pan drippings and remaining juices into a small saucepan. Strain, toss the solids, and reduce the liquids until thickened. Season with salt and pepper and extra cumin, if desired.
Serve over whatever side you prefer, toss a tablespoon of gravy, and garnish with cilantro springs.