Pernil is a traditional marinated pork shoulder, slow-roasted until incredibly tender and served with delicious pan juices or barbecue sauce. Julia Deane and Culinary Works have put their creative touch on this classic Latin American dish with a wonderful combination of flavors and spices to enhance the succulent pork. Serves 7-10 with side dishes.


1 5-8 lb pork shoulder, bone-in
1 cup sour orange juice (from Seville oranges)
OR 1 cup tart grapefruit juice
OR ½ cup each orange and lime juice
2 tablespoons vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, quartered
8-10 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 ½ cups chopped cilantro
1 large red bell pepper, seeds and center ribs removed
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons paprika (sweet or smoked Spanish)
5-8 teaspoons kosher salt (1 teaspoon per pound of pork)
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1-2 cups water


Rinse pork shoulder under cold water and then pat very dry. Place skin-side up in a large roasting pan, right on the pan (not on roasting rack). Use a knife to cut slits into the skin and fat. Combine the orange juice, vinegar, olive oil, onion, garlic, cilantro, red bell pepper, cumin, oregano, paprika, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor and puree into a smooth paste. Use your hands to rub the pork shoulder with the paste on all sides, pouring into any crevices and into the slits cut in the skin. Use all of the marinade. Cover pan with plastic wrap and let marinate a minimum of 2 hours and up to 2 days. When ready to cook, remove from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature 30 minutes to take off some of the chill. Pour water into bottom of pan so that it goes up about 2 inches on the side of the pork. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cover roasting pan tightly with foil or pan cover and place in oven on lowest rack to bake for 4 to 7 hours or until very tender. (Smaller roasts cook less and larger roasts take more time. It’s very difficult to “overcook” as long as you keep the heat low, the roast covered, and the liquid in the pan–you can even go down to 300 degrees if you want to be safe.) Once meat is tender, remove foil from pan and let broil about 5 to 10 minutes, or until skin is crisp and crackling. You can shred it at this point while warm or slice it. Serve it with pan juices or add some barbecue sauce, or serve with barbecue sauce on the side.

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