There's nothing like a great hunk of PORK.  Pernil always fits the bill for holidays and special occasions with a bit of a Latin flair.  This is a definite do ahead, so set aside a good 3 to 4 hours for the roasting process, and be a part of your own party.  It can be served with any number of sides, and makes great next day meals... like pulled pork BBQ sandwiches for example.


Prep          Preheat oven to 300 degrees

You will need a good 4 to 5 lb. pork (Butt) shoulder with a nice thick fat layer.  Make a pocket between the skin and flesh where a marinade will be placed but hold the marinade well enough inside.   You can also poke holes into the flesh so that the marinade can seep into it.  Score the top layer of the fat, but don’t cut all the way through.  Pour some the rest of the marinade over skin.  Chill in the fridge overnight.

The Marinade :

In a food processor....
full head of garlic cloves only
handful of fresh cilantro and a handful of fresh oregano
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or your favorite)
2 tsps of kosher salt
tsp of pepper
tsp cayenne pepper
tbsp ancho chili powder
tsp cumin
tbsp pimenton (smoked paprika)
1 extra cup of orange juice

process...then add juice of two limes and two oranges.   Drizzle in slowly 1 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Now a few hours before you plan to serve the pork shoulder, bring the meat out for an hour or so to come closer to room temperature.  This will actually help in the roasting process.  Put meat in a roasting pan on top of a rack insert.  Add the extra cup of orange juice to help steam the meat. Then into the oven for 3 hours, uncovered and that's it.

You can check and baste as often as you like. It’s pretty fool proof and the crispier the skin the better. When the cooking time is over, cover the Pernil with aluminum foil lightly and let rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.  You can also use the juices as a dipping sauce or as a gravy if you like by adding flour or cornstarch to the strained juices and whisking until thickened.

As you can see, this dish is simple and has room for personal touches.  And, as I've said, "it’s great for holidays and special occasions"...or just a Sunday game.  So grab some folks and plan a day to enjoy some good food and hang with friends...

Jay Rinaldi is an SFGN reader, fabulous cook, and local bartender extraordinaire.