Here's a Straightforward Pernil Recipe From the Spanish Caribbean

NEW YORK, NY - Most Caribbean nationals love pork. We stew it, roast it, fry it and Jerk it! It is served as a main course or an appetizer.

Because pork is considered a white meat, it is often favored over red meat. The method of cooking though is largely decided by ethnicity. For example, if you are French as in Haitian, the pork meat will be stewed and then fried while if you are Spanish as in Cuban, Puerto Rican  or Dominican Republican,  the preferred method of cooking  pork is roasting.

Most other Caribbean nationals will stew, curry or jerk the pork. When pork is prepared by the Haitian method it is called Griot; when pork shoulder is prepared by the Spanish Caribbean method it called Pernil!cariporkWhen pork shoulder is prepared by the Spanish Caribbean method it's called Pernil!

Today I will share my recipe for Pernil.


8 lbs picnic pork shoulder

12 minced garlic cloves

4 teaspoons dried oregano

5 teaspoons black pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons white vinegar

8 teaspoons salt


Wash the pork shoulder thoroughly with vinegar.

With a sharp knife, make 1 inch deep cuts into the pork.

With mortar and pestle, crush garlic, oregano and black pepper together. Add olive oil, vinegar and salt. Mix well.

Spoon some of the garlic mixture inside the small cuts around the pork, and spread remaining mixture all over the pork.

Place pork in an aluminum turkey pan (skin side up); cover with aluminum foil tightly. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

Bake in pre-heated 325 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 5 to 6 hours.

Remove aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for another hour or until skin is crisp. Closely watch this so you don’t burn the skin (chicharrone). Pork should be well-done and tender.

Bon Appetite

Minna LaFortune is a trained Caribbean caterer and also president, Society for the Advancement of the Caribbean Diaspora (SACD).