It’s been ages since I mentioned making Pernil last May, and when I did mention it, I hadn’t even put it in the oven yet. Then I got distracted “by life,” and never told how delicious it was! Pernil is a Puerto Rican style roast pork, and while it’s often made with citrus, that is not a given.
Here (below) is the Tyler Florence recipe I used. (A non-citrus slow-cooker version is here.) What inspired me to make the dish was the version that was served in the café where I’d worked at Princeton University. But their’s was maybe cooked in a combi steam/convection oven, which achieved softer, more tender results. It fell apart into chunks which were easily shredded with a fork. I wish my (or Florence’s) version had achieved that state, so next time I might resort to a Dutch oven kind of deal where I can partially braise the meat, then uncover it to finish roasting and crisp up on top. Since I rent, I’ve never had the privilege of outfitting my own kitchen with appliances of my choice. But if I did, I would try hard to have a combi oven, it would be right up there with the gas range (sadly, I have electric), and a better fridge.
From Tyler Florence, foodnetwork.com
1 boneless pork shoulder (about 4 pounds), skin on
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 handful fresh oregano
1 bunch fresh cilantro, plus chopped cilantro, for garnish
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt and fresh coarsely ground black pepper
2 limes, juiced, plus wedges for serving
2 oranges, juiced
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Place the pork, fat side up, in a roasting pan fitted with a rack insert, and using a sharp knife, score the surface of the meat with small slits. Prepare the adobo: In a food processor, add the garlic, oregano, cilantro, cumin, salt, and pepper. Add lime juice and orange juice. Drizzle in olive oil and pulse until you have a nice puree. Rub the marinade all over the pork, being sure to get into the incisions so the salt can penetrate the meat and pull out the moisture – this will help form a crust on the outside when cooked.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Roast the pork for 3 hours, uncovered, until the skin is crispy-brown. Let the meat rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes before slicing, covered lightly with aluminum foil. Drizzle with lime juice and garnish with cilantro.