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Navidad Boricua: Pernil

A must for your Nochebuena menu!

pernil roasted pork shoulder


Puerto Rican style Pernil is a dish made of roasted pork shoulder marinated in Adobo spices. The pork is slow-roasted until it is tender and juicy. This traditional dish is a staple of Puerto Rican cuisine and is often served during holidays or special occasions, and will always be on a Nochebuena menu. The marinade helps to keep the pork moist and succulent, while the  garlic, oregano, and cumin provide savory notes. The skin, called cuerito, in Puerto Rico is crisp and golden and highly coveted.  In my family, if you’re the cook, you’ve got pick of the cuerito!  

Pernil is so good because the marinade and slow-cooking process infuse the pork with tons of flavor and the skin is the most delicious thing ever. It's also a dish that can be made in advance, making it perfect for special occasions.





-1 whole pork shoulder with skin on (Pernil) 

-1/2 cup mojo garlic sauce

-2-3 tablespoons Adobo Spice Blend

-2 tablespoons Sazon


Add additional salt & pepper to taste (you want it to be on the salty side, it’s a large piece of meat and will absorb the flavor well)



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

2. In a small bowl, mix together and spices. 

3. Place the pork shoulder in a large baking dish and pour the marinade over it. Rub the marinade into the pork shoulder, making sure it’s evenly coated. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. 

4. Once the pork has marinated, remove from the refrigerator and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.  

  1. To get the crispy skin, broil on high for about 3-4 minutes until the whole skin is crispy.

6. Remove the pork from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.


 Serve with Mojo Garlic Sauce as a condiment and Enjoy!



Sometimes my family will buy a whole pernil just so we can have the leftovers in sandwiches.  


The classic Mama Milly’s Pernil Sandwich:



Soft white bread (or a soft roll)- my preference is to have toasted bread for sandwiches, but have it however you want!

Mayonnaise (to taste)

1-2 teaspoons mojo garlic sauce

Pernil (enough to fill a sandwich to your liking)


  1. In a microwave safe bowl, add pernil and coat with mojo garlic sauce. Reheat.
  2. Coat bread with mayonnaise 
  3. Once pernil is warm, add to bread



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