Go Back Email Link
+ servings
A Puerto Rican dinner of arroz con gandules in a silver pot and shredded pernil on a white platter. A white bowl of chicharron is next to a white and orange striped towel.

Pernil (Puerto Rican style Roast Pork Shoulder)

A succulent, crisp-skinned pork shoulder is the perfect way to celebrate your happiest occasions.
Course Mains
Cuisine Puerto Rican/Hispanic
Keyword pernil, pork, roast
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
marinating time 2 days
Total Time 2 days 6 hours 20 minutes
Servings 15 servings
Calories 287kcal


  • Roasting pan with inner rack


  • 10 pound pork shoulder bone-in, skin-on
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 16 cloves garlic (or 2 heads) peeled and mashed to a paste
  • 1/4 cup  Sofrito
  • 2 tablespoons Adobo seasoning plus more for seasoning prior to roasting
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sazón
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper


Prep the Pork Shoulder

  • Grab a firm hold on the top layer of the skin and, carefully, run your knife's blade along the line where the fat and skin meet.
    Use a very sharp boning knife to cut between the fat and the meat, leaving the back and sides of the skin attached- creating a pocket. 
  • After you create the pocket, pull the skin back a little and pierce slits into the flesh using the tip of your knife, taking care not to puncture the skin in the process.
    Flip the roast over and make slits in the bottom of it as well.  

"Wash", then Season the Meat

  • Transfer your pernil to a large bowl (or leave it in the sink if you washed it) and pour the white vinegar outside the piece of meat, inside the pocket and on the skin.
    Rub the vinegar into the meat well.
  • In a bowl, combine the mashed garlic, sofrito, adobo, onion powder, sazón, oregano, and pepper to create a thick paste.
    Use a large spoon to scoop a third of the paste into the cavity you created between the skin and flesh. Massage the rub it into the meat: make sure to press the paste into those slits in the meat under the skin.
  • Flip the pork over and rub the bottom side with another third of the spice paste.
    Flip it back over and rub the remaining spice paste onto the the skin.  

Wrap and Marinate the Pernil

  • Lay out a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil (or enough sheets to completely wrap the pernil). Over the foil, lay out three sheets of plastic wrap.
    Put the seasoned pork shoulder in the center of the wrapping film and wrap it tightly in the plastic first, then wrap it tightly in the foil.
  • Set the wrapped pork on a sheetpan and and let it marinate in the fridge for at least 2 days, but 3 days if you can.
    You can roast the pernil in as little as 12 hours, but it won't be as flavorful.

Roast the Pernil

  • When you're ready to roast, unwrap the pernil and put it on a roasting rack inside of a roasting pan. Pat the pernil's skin down with a paper towel to dry it and remove the spice paste. Season the outside of the pernil with a light sprinkling of adobo.
    Begin heating your oven to 350°F, and leave the pork to sit on the countertop for at least 30 minutes to an hour to warm up. A cold pernil takes longer to begin roasting than a semi-warm one does. 
  • Lightly spray a piece of aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray and cover the pan of pernil- sprayed side down.
    Roast the pernil at 350°F for 5 hours.
  • When the roasting time is up, increase the oven temperature to 425°F.
    Remove the pernil from the oven and take off the foil covering. 
    Once the oven reaches temperature, put the pernil back in and finish roasting for 1 hour. (You may need to turn the pan occasionally to keep one side from going too dark, if so, do that every 15 minutes or so.
    The skin will begin to blister, harden, and sizzle.
  • The fully cooked pernil should have an internal temperature of between 180-200°F. The juices of the pernil will run clear with no blood, as well. 
    Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the internal juices to settle down. 
  • After allowing the pernil to rest a few minutes, remove the chicharrón and shred the meat from the bone.
    Serve the pernil while hot. 


Pernil Roasting Times:

5 pound pernil= 3 hours roasting time
7 pound= 4 hours
8 pound= 5 hours
9 pound= 5 hours 15 minutes
10 pound= 6 hours

Smoking Instructions:

  • Follow instructions as directed.
  • Smoke the pernil with your preferred wood at 250°F for 15 hours.
  • You won't be left with the amazing crunchy chicharrón with this method, so remove the skin or chop it up and mix it in with the pulled pork. 

To Store Cooked Pernil:

Any leftovers should be transferred to a food storage container and kept in the fridge for 3 days. To reheat the meat, just flick a little water over it and microwave it until warmed through. 

To Freeze Cooked Pernil:

Transfer the shredded pernil to a freezer storage bag and freeze for 6 months. Thaw in the fridge when you're ready to eat and reheat as instructed above. 


Calories: 287kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 124mg | Sodium: 214mg | Potassium: 673mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 20IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 3mg