Make Ahead


October 17, 2016
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves many
Author Notes

Pernil, here in the U.S., is most often a highly seasoned pork roast with Puerto Rican roots. It cooks low and slow until it almost falls off the bone. Because it's such a large roast there are plenty of leftovers for carnitas, Cuban sandwiches, tacos and even pulled pork sandwiches. I've even made a quick version of my Meaty Cabbage and Rice Stew on this site. Give yourself plenty of time for this roast. I do the prep the day before. —inpatskitchen

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: inpatskitchen has won a whopping 6 contests with 69 Community Picks!
WHAT: Slow-roasted pork shoulder that’s as good on its own as it is in tacos.
HOW: Rub a large pork shoulder with a heady garlicky and herb mixture and let it marinate up to 24 hours. Roast for 3 hours until the meat is juicy and the skin is crisp. That’s it!
WHY WE LOVE IT: The bright flavored marinade takes this roast from good, to something you want to eat all week long in tortillas, sandwiches, and even in stew. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • Juice of a large lime
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 6 to 8 pound pork shoulder roast (skin on if you can find it) or fresh ham with skin on
  1. Place all ingredients (except the pork shoulder, of course) in a mini food processor and process until smooth.
  2. Cut one inch slits on the fat or skin side of the roast, place in a roasting pan and then massage the roast with the marinade, pushing some into the slits you've made. Use all of the marinade over all sides of the roast.
  3. Cover the roast tightly with foil and place in the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours (the longer, the better),
  4. When ready to roast, take the pork out of the fridge about 1/2 hour early and pre-heat your oven to 325℉. Add one cup of water to the roasting pan and recover the roast.
  5. Roast for 3 hours, covered, and then uncover and roast for about 3 hours more or until the meat is soft and juicy, the skin is crisp, and the internal temp is at least 160℉.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Melissa Y
    Melissa Y
  • aargersi
  • Bosco Wilhelm
    Bosco Wilhelm
  • Regine
  • Jenya | BlueGalley
    Jenya | BlueGalley

Recipe by: inpatskitchen

I think I get my love for food and cooking from my mom, who was an amazing cook. She would start baking and freezing a month before Christmas in order to host our huge open house on Christmas afternoon. I watched and I this day I try not to procrastinate when it comes to entertaining. My cooking style is pretty much all over the place, although I'm definitely partial to Greek and Italian cuisine. Oh yes, throw a little Cajun in there too!

25 Reviews

Melissa Y. April 20, 2023
Do yourself a favor and make a second batch of marinade (with a modified amount of garlic). We used it to make coleslaw to serve with the pork and it was fantastic! The pork itself received rave reviews from the 10-yr old, a rarity since he thinks he always has to comment like a Top Chef judge! :) Another crazy easy recipe to enter the regular family rotation. Thanks for sharing!
Susanne March 19, 2018
Would this be ok to do in a crock pot? With a newborn and a toddler activities and doctor appointments, I'm not home for long stretches of time.
inpatskitchen March 19, 2018
I think you can but you won't get that crispy skin that comes with roasting. Maybe you could give it and hour or so in the oven at the end?
aargersi March 5, 2018
I wish I could post the picture of mine because it was frigging amazing! I had the skin cross hatched, and each little square was a perfect crispy chicharron then the pork itself was shredded juicy delicious. It made a spectacular birthday dinner with white beans and grilled romaine, and of course tacos yesterday and I am pretty sure I hear something going on with the rest right now.
inpatskitchen March 5, 2018
Oh Abbie..THANK YOU so much! I'm so happy you liked's become one of our favorite roasts and your approval is so appreciated!
Angela April 15, 2017
I've used various recipes and this one, by far, is my favorite. I'm a salt lover but since the first time making this, I've reduced the salt to 3 tbsp. This dish is perfection 👍🏼
inpatskitchen April 15, 2017
Thanks so much Angela! I'm so glad you're enjoying this!
Bosco W. November 24, 2016
This is the first time ever I'm cooking meat for so long! Did the marinade last night, let it pour in for almost 24h...and now roasting (1st round going)! I can smell what you mean...
inpatskitchen November 25, 2016
Thanks for giving this a try, Bosco! Hopefully you'll love it as much as we do!
Regine November 13, 2016
It is extremely extremely well seasoned and delicious and I will make this again although with maybe half or 3/4 of the salt. I love it. Eating it with rice and pigeon peas. But i will eat the leftover with tacos.

Also, for those that dont have or like oregano, I would replace it with maybe dried parsley/basil, etc.
inpatskitchen November 13, 2016
So happy you liked this...tacos sound soooo good!!
Regine November 13, 2016
After round 1 (3 hours covered), meat was basically cooked but the marinade of course renderered a lot of liquid thus round 2 as in your instructions (3 hours uncovered). At this point, I tasted meat and it was extremely tasty and delicious. However, 4 tbsp salt made it a bit too salty. Maybe your instructions meant kosher which is less salty but since there was no mention of using kosher I used regular salt). I had to take meat out of the marinade and continued cooking it without it so that it did not get more salty. I let it cook for maybe 1 hour. Excellent flavor. However, next time I would cut salt to 2 tbsp if using table salt. Thanks for such a tasty pork.
inpatskitchen November 13, 2016
I did use table salt but then I'm (unfortunately) a salt lover. However, I'm so happy that you liked the roast! Thanks for making it!!
Regine November 13, 2016
My Pernil is in oven right now for round number one (3 hours covered). It smells so good. I will let you know how it turns out.
inpatskitchen November 13, 2016
Oh I'm so glad you're trying this....hope to hear from you in a few hours!! Thanks!
Jenya |. November 9, 2016
inpatskitchen November 9, 2016
Thank you!
sexyLAMBCHOPx November 9, 2016
Congrats on yet another win!
inpatskitchen November 9, 2016
Thanks chops!
anotherfoodieblogger November 4, 2016
Woo hoo, congrats! I want to make this...
inpatskitchen November 5, 2016
Thanks afb!! I've got my eye on your turkey and lentil soup!
luvcookbooks November 4, 2016
I love pernil! Congrats on the Finalist!
inpatskitchen November 4, 2016
Me too!! Thanks so much!
Bevi November 4, 2016
Yay Pat! This looks fabulous!
inpatskitchen November 4, 2016
Thanks Bevi!!