Pernil or pernil asado is a leg or shoulder of pork marinated and roasted for several hours. In Latin American countries, this dish is a Christmas tradition. Serves 10
For the adobo (marinade)
For the meat
8lbpork leg or shoulder(whole, with bone)
Mix all the ingredients and reserve this preparation to season the meat.
Leg or shoulder of pork
Place the pork in a baking dish that can be refrigerated.
Mix the garlic powder with the salt and season the pork. Add the fresh garlic on top of the meat. Marinate for 3 hours in the refrigerator.
Using a small, sharp knife, remove the fat from the meat by letting it stand on one edge and keeping it in one piece.
Start at the wide end and go to the narrow end.
Leave enough fat on the meat to turn the fat on its side while seasoning the meat.
The fat will be added back on the seasoned meat and cooked on the meat.
With a little marinade, season the side of the fat that covers the meat. The other side (the top) should only have salt.
Make very deep cuts on all over the meat and season with the marinade, ensuring that the seasoning penetrates well into all the cuts.
Put the fat on the meat so that it looks the same as before cutting and sprinkle with salt.
Cover the meat with a cling film and refrigerate for 12 hours.
Remove the meat 1h30 before cooking and let the meat come back to room temperature before cooking.
Place the meat in a deep oven dish with the fat side up. There will be a lot of fat, so be sure to use a deep dish.
Preheat the oven for 45 minutes at 400 F / 200 C before baking (while the meat comes back to room temperature).
Bake at 400 F / 200 C, and covered for 1 hour, then reduce the temperature to 300 F / 150 C, and cook again covered for 3 hours. Do not turn the meat over. Then uncover and cook for an additional hour.
When the meat is cooked, poke it on the side with a fork to see if it is falls off from the bone. If the top (cuerito) is not crisp enough, continue cooking at 400 F / 200 C for 15 minutes or until crisp.
Remove the meat from the oven and let it rest for 30 minutes before cutting it.
To cut it, completely remove the fat (cuerito) and reserve it.
Slice the meat then cut the fat (cuerito) into pieces and sprinkle on the meat.
Serve the meat with a piece of cuerito.
It is strongly recommended to use a meat thermometer. The meat will be ready when it reaches 185 F at the core.
Pernil is usually served with arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas).