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Roasted Pernil

Pernil is a Spanish style roasted pork shoulder. This recipe is adapted from my mother-in-law's recipe that was passed down from her mother, Cleotilde Rueda de Vergara. This dish is perfect to sever at large family gatherings or parties. The average 10lb pork shoulder feeds 15-20 people! 

Preptime: 1 hour

Cook time: 5 hours


  • 10 lb pork shoulder bone-in, skin on

For the skin:

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

Seasoning paste: 

  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 tablespoon sea salt (we use Himalayan pink salt)
  • 1/2 cup Cardenas Spanish Picual EVOO (this dish needs a robust EVOO)
  • 2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoon Adobo Seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup champaign or white wine vinegar (< 6% acidity)


  1. Making the seasoning paste. In a large pyrex measuring cup, or bowl, combine all of your seasonings to make a thick paste.
  2. Preheat your over to 325 degrees.
  3. Prepare your pork shoulder. Place the meat in a large roasting pan skin side up. Using a 4" paring knife, puncture the pork shoulder going through the skin, 3-4" into the meat. Twist the knife to open the holes. Make 20-30 incisions. 
  4. Using the 4" paring knife. Remove the pork skin starting at one corner, slowly scoring the fatty layer to separate the skin from the meat. Try to keep the skin in one piece. 
  5. Using a small spoon or injector, fill your incisions with the seasoning paste. It is important for the salt and seasoning to penetrate the meat and infuse that delicious flavor! Rub the bottom of the meat with the seasoning paste. Layer your baby carrots and 1/2" onion slices on top of the meat and replace the skin. 
  6. In a small bowl, mix the baking soda, salt and vinegar for the skin. The baking soda mixture makes the skin crispy!
  7. Cover the roasting pan with tin foil and roast for 5 hours. Use a meat thermometer to test that the internal temperature reaches between 145-160° F. 
  8. During the last 15 minutes, remove the foil and broil on low to crisp the skin. 
  9. Remove from oven, allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. 






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