Pernil ~ Slow-Cooked Pork Roast

Pernil is a succulent slow-cooked pork roast typically made with pork shoulder.

Pernil ~ Slow-Cooked Pork Roast Recipe Card
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Pernil is a Puerto Rican Slow-Cooked Pork Roast, from a shoulder, butt, or leg cut. It’s enjoyed by many Puerto Ricans during the holidays and is a classic Puerto Rican recipe. It has many variations throughout the Caribbean islands.

This dish, as the name implies, will take 4 hours to cook if you use an 8-pound pork shoulder. You will need to marinate the pork for about 4 hours. So the total time with preparation will take about 8 hours and 20 minutes total. However, it is well worth the time.

This Slow-Cooked Pork Roast is usually served with rice and pigeon peas (Arroz con Gandules), Puerto Rican tamales (Pasteles), and fried plantains (Tostones), which is a common way to enjoy Pernil in Puerto Rico.

The most coveted part of Pernil is the crispy, crunchy skin, called Cuerito. Cut it into pieces of Cuerito and serve it with the meat.

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Pernil ~ Slow-Cooked Pork Roast

Roasted pork shoulder bliss, here you come. All it takes are a handful of spices and a few simple techniques to make this authentic Puerto Rican dish more delicious than ever!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Caribbean, Puerto Rican
Keyword Pork
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Refrigeration Time 4 hours
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author Mike Gonzalez


  • 1 pork shoulder (8 – 9 lbs.) bone-in and skin-on
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic minced
  • 2 tsp adobo seasoning
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 packets sazón
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt


  • In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, Adobo, lemon juice, sazon, oregano and black pepper; set aside.
    ¼ cup olive oil, 1 tbsp garlic, 2 tsp adobo seasoning, 2 tsp lemon juice, 2 packets sazón, 1 tsp oregano, ¼ tsp black pepper
  • Using a small, sharp knife, make a cut on the side of the roast where the skin meets the flesh. Continue cutting, separating the skin from the flesh, leaving one end of the skin attached. Using the knife, make ½” deep incisions in the flesh, under the skin.
    1 pork shoulder
  • Place the pork on a tray. Using your hands, rub the spice mixture over the flesh, pushing some of the mixture into the cuts. Place the skin on top of the meat; wipe the skin clean. Rub skin with salt. Cover tray with plastic wrap; transfer to the refrigerator to marinate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
    1 tsp salt
  • Heat oven to 350°F. Transfer pork, skin side-up, to roasting pan; bring to room temperature, about 1 hour. Pat the skin dry. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Cook pork until meat is fork-tender and internal temperature registers 145°F, 3 – 3½ hours; discard foil.
  • Increase oven to 450°F. Cook pork, uncovered, adding water in ¼ cup measures if pan becomes dry, check the pan every 10 minutes. Cook until the skin is brown and crisp, 20 – 35 minutes.
  • Transfer pork to cutting board and let it rest 20 minutes. Remove the skin and cut it into pieces. Drain fat from drippings. Cut meat from the bone. Serve with skin and pan juices.


Crispy, Crunchy Chicharrón:
After cutting the skin off the pork, if you find the skin isn’t as crispy as you’d like, simply transfer it to a foil-lined baking sheet, increase the oven temperature to broil, and cook, rotating the pan once, until crisp, about 10 minutes. Then, discard foil and oil.

Make Your Own Adobo Seasoning Mix

Puerto Rican Adobo Recipe
Essential in the Spanish Caribbean and Latin American kitchens, adobo is a savory, all-purpose seasoning.
Check out this recipe

Serve Slow-Cooked Pork Roast With:

Arroz con Gandules
Arroz con Gandules is a combination of rice, pigeon peas, and pork, cooked in the same pot with sofrito. This is Puerto Rico's national dish along with roasted pork.
Check out this recipe
Puerto Rican Pasteles
Unlike Mexican tamales, pasteles are boiled and not steamed.
Check out this recipe

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