fine dining experience

Puerto Rican Pernil

Boasting a combination of succulent, flavorful meat and shatteringly crisp skin, this impressive bone-in, skin-on roast pork dish has earned its place as the centerpiece of any Christmas dinner spread (but is good enough to make all winter long too).


8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tbsp. kosher salt, divided
1/4 c. fresh orange juice
3 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1 tbsp. plus 1 1/2 tsp. dry adobo seasoning
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 (7- to 8-lb.) skin-on, bone-in pork shoulder


  1. Step 1In a mortar and pestle or small food processor, mash or pulse garlic and 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons salt until a paste forms. Add orange juice, oregano, lime juice, adobo seasoning, and pepper and mash or pulse until combined. Stir or pulse in oil until smooth and combined.
  2. Step 2Rinse pork under cold running water, then pat dry with paper towels. Arrange on a cutting board skin side up. Be sure to thoroughly clean the sink to avoid cross-contamination. Using a sharp, flexible knife, separate skin and fat cap from meat, leaving one side of skin attached to create a flap. Peel flap back, then make incisions on all sides of meat with a paring knife, avoiding skin flap.
  3. Step 3Working in batches, spoon marinade over meat, pushing some into the incisions. Replace skin flap and transfer to a roasting bag or tightly wrap with plastic. Let marinate at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
  4. Step 4Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet or roasting pan with heavy-duty foil. Place a wire rack in sheet. Remove pork from marinade and arrange on rack skin side up. Using paper towels, wipe marinade from top of pork; season with remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Secure skin to meat with 3 to 4 metal skewers to prevent shrinking during cooking.
  5. Step 5Roast pork, uncovered and rotating pan every 90 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 180° and skin is deeply browned and starting to harden, 4 1/2 to 5 hours.
  6. Step 6Increase oven temperature to 450°. Continue to roast until skin is deeply browned and sounds like knocking on a door when tapped with a wooden spoon, about 20 minutes more. Remove pan from oven and let pork rest 30 minutes.
  7. Step 7Remove skewers, gently lift crispy skin layer away from meat, and transfer to a cutting board. If it doesn't remove in one piece, separate skin from meat with a knife. Cut skin into small pieces; discard any additional fat. Shred or slice pork to serve.