THIS RECIPE USES NATURAL INGREDIENTS & DOES NOT RELY ON SAZON OR OTHER MAN-MADE INGREDIENTS!
In other words, this is similar to how your great-grandmother made it back in the day, 'en el campo'!
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(1) 5 - 8 pound fresh pork shoulder (pernil)
(also known as 'fresh ham' or 'cali')
2 cloves of garlic per pound of pernil
1 teaspoon of olive oil per pound of pernil
1 teaspoon of salt per pound of pernil
1 teaspoon of black pepper per 5 pounds of pernil
1 teaspoon of oregano per 5 pounds of pernil
1 teaspoon of vinegar per pound of pernil
1 teaspoon of sofrito/recaito per pound of pernil
2 cups of water (to add to roasting pan)
Example for a 6 pound pernil:
12 cloves of garlic
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 Tablespoons of salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of oregano
2 Tablespoons of vinegar
2 Tablespoons of sofrito/recaito
2 cups of water (to add to roasting pan)
Preliminary step: Take half of your garlic cloves and slice each one lengthwise, once or twice. Place aside.
1 - Note how many pounds your pernil is. If it is approximately 6 pounds, just use the example above for the quantity of seasonings. Otherwise, see the 'Tips' Section for quick lists for a 5 pound and 7 pound pernil.
2 - Rinse the pork under cold running water.
Prepare the Adobo Rub:
3 - Add the whole garlic cloves (not the ones that you sliced!) to a pilón (morter and pestle). Grind them for a minute or two.
4 - Add the olive oil. Stir and mash again.
5 - Add the salt, black pepper, oregano and the vinegar.
6 - Stir this and grind a little more. It should have a course, but liquid consistency. See the video to get an idea.
Prepare the Meat:
7 - Using a knife, make incisions in the meat, approximately 1 inch wide, and 1 -2 inches deep. Make a total of 20 - 30 slits on all sides of the pernil.
8 - Using the handle of a small teaspoon, take some sofrito and place it into each slit that you've made.
9 - Take a slice of garlic (the ones that you had placed aside earlier), and place one into each of the same slits that now have sofrito or recaito in them.
10- If you have extra garlic slices left, just double up on some of the slits - nothing goes to waste!
11- By the same token, if you don't have enough, not to worry- if you used the recommended amount of garlic, the flavor will carry throughout when you baste the pork later!
12- Take the adobo rub that you prepared in the pilón (morter and pestle) in step 3, and rub all over the pork.
Marinate the meat:
13- Cover the pernil in its roasting pan, or a plastic container, and place in the refrigerator to marinate overnight. (Or at least a few hours). Note: Do not marinate it in an aluminum pan, since the vinegar in the adobo rub will react with it).
Prepare to cook:
14- Remove the pernil from the refrigerator about 1 hour before you wish to start cooking it, to allow it to start coming up to room temperature.
15- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F), and adjust the oven rack so that it is in the middle, or just below, the middle level.
16- Once the oven is preheated, unwrap the pernil (if you had wrapped it with plastic).
17- Cover the pernil loosely with aluminum foil, or with the roasting pan cover.
18- Place 2 cups of water into the roasting pan, and place the pan on the middle rack in the oven.
Cook the pernil:
19- Cook the pernil for 30 - 35 minutes per pound. Example: 5 lb. pernil = 2½ to 3 Hours 6 lb. pernil = 3 to 3½ Hours 7 lb. pernil = 3½ to 4 Hours
20- After 2 hours of cooking, uncover and baste the roast with a large spoon or turkey baster.
21- Resume cooking, uncovered, for the rest of the cooking time. Baste every 30 minutes.
22- If you start running out of basting juices, just add another cup or two of water to the pan.
Note: The actual cooking time will vary somewhat, but should fall within the range of hours listed above. To further clarify when it is done, follow the steps below.
Your Pernil is cooked when you are in the last half-hour of the cooking time range and: A- Any juices that come out of the pernil are clear, not pink. B- A cooking thermometer, inserted deep into the meat, reads 185 - 190 degrees (F).
23- Once the pernil is done, remove from oven and let it rest 15 minutes before carving. This lets it cool slightly, and allows the remaining juices to stay within the roast.
TO SEE THE COMPLETE RECIPE, INCLUDING THE TIPS SECTION, go to the Pernil Recipe page on our website:
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