ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Pernil Edition

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Last week, my friend Guy celebrated his birthday, and in typical, punny form, we threw him a potluck with the theme of “Guy foods.” Get it? (If you don’t, you’re an idiot). Anyway, I didn’t know what to make, but I knew it probably should revolve around some sort of giant slab of meat. Ribs? Nah — I’d have to make too many for all the hungry mouths. Wings? Same problem. Then I remembered some dish that Tyler Florence once made on Tyler’s Ultimate. After some internet rummaging, I found the recipe: a Pork Shoulder “Pernil” with Cilantro-Citrus Adobo. I instantly recalled having watched him make it on Food Network, my mouth watering the whole time. Now would be a perfect time to attempt it. And it couldn’t be simpler: just make a rub, put it on the meat, and let ‘er rip!

My experiences after the jump…

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We start with a humble 3 lbs of pork shoulder. Had I gone to Costco that day, I would have been able to haul back 14 lbs instead for $24 (as I did three days later).

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I place the roast fat side up, which is kind of a draw with this piece, and score the skin in a criss-cross manner. Already getting excited.

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Ain’t she purdy? You really should see the Costco size though. Oh wait! I have a picture!


For the record, you can see this photo and many more if you follow me on Instagram! Username: bsideblog. Heck, follow me on Twitter while you’re at it!

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Anyhoo, back to the pernil. It’s time to make da rub. We start with oregano.

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Naturally, cilantro enters the mix.

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The herbs as well as some garlic, cumin, and claaaaasssic salt and pepper enter the food processor. Of note: the recipe just says “salt” with no quantities. A separate Tyler Florence pernil recipe specifies 1 Tbs salt / pound, with several reviewers claiming the results are too salty. I therefore opt for 2 Tbs salt, which still seems like a lot, but to be fair, the salt is supposed to effectively brine the pork. So there.

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And now some orange juice. An intriguing turn!

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The rub, pre-pulverization. There’s also lime juice in there now too.

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I mix everything up, adding olive oil too. I was under the impression that this was to be a rub, but it looks like a runny sauce. Perhaps I was a bit too effective with my citrus juicing.

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Nevertheless, I slowly pour the marinade all over the pork, being sure to rub the sauce into all the nooks and crannies.

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The pork goes into a 300 degree oven. It’s supposed to sit there for three hours, but since this cut is a little smaller than the recommended 4 lbs, I pull it out twenty minutes early. Looks pretty amazing.

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The first slice is beautiful. It’s ever so slightly pink, but that’s actually allowed with pork.

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My mouth is salivating. It cuts very nicely.

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As I near the center of the cut, the pork gets too pink and the juices begin to run red. Grrr… Looks like I overcompensated the shorter cooking time for the smaller cut. Why I didn’t use my thermometer is beyond me. Nevertheless, I simply slice the whole thing, put it in the a covered pan, and cook at 350 degrees for fifteen minutes. Problem solved!

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The end result.

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Macro shot!

The verdict: super tasty! I’m still kicking myself for having removed the pork too early — had I let it stay in the oven, it would have been that much more tender. Nevertheless, it was delicious and gone rather quickly at the potluck. Of the long, slow items I have cooked (braises, ribs, etc), this one has to have been the easiest. Can’t wait to experiment with other types of rubs!

Check out the original recipe at the Food Network.

Have you ever made pernil? How has it turned out for you?

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4 thoughts on “ADVENTURES IN DOMESTICITY: Pernil Edition

  1. I make something very similar but was told (years ago) that it was a Cuban recipe. I am glad to know what it actually is! We all love it. It can also be made in a crock pot and browned a little before serving.

    It is a very forgiving recipe – if you are a little short of an ingredient or two it still comes out delicious.

  2. That looks so yummy!! My husband won’t eat pork, so I rarely make it. But this recipe makes me hope he has to go out of town for work or something. 😉

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