Easy to make, this pernil is slow-cooked in a crockpot before roasting for the most tender, tasty and effortless roasted pork.
Growing up, we always had pernil on Christmas Eve. Back in my country, we would roast an entire pork on an open fire. The entire process of killing the animal, cleaning, seasoning and cooking it took days. That is the reason it was usually a dish reserved for special occasions.
Now, roasting pork has become so easy that I do not wait for special occasions to come around so that we can have it. Yes, I still cook pernil asado for Christmas Eve. However, when we feel like eating carnitas, I don’t have to think twice to make a delicious roast pork.
Perfectly seasoned and entirely delicious, this crispy roasted pork shoulder is perfect to eat with everything: rice, potatoes, tostones, on a sandwich and tortillas for awesome tacos.
Try this delicious pernil recipe to enjoy with your friends and family this holiday season!
What is Pernil?
Pernil is a bone-in and skin out roasted pork shoulder. It is often enjoyed during the holidays amongst many Latin American cultures such as Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, or Ecuadorians. It is a main dish that can be served with rice, beans, and salad and sometimes acts as a substitute for turkey during Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
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Though often confused with pulled pork, pernil comes from the lower half of the pork shoulder, while pulled pork usually comes from pork butt. However, pernil can be used for pulled pork if so preferred.
- Pork Shoulder – Make sure your pork shoulder is bone-in and skin on. The bone will keep it juicy and flavorful and the skin will crisp up wonderfully.
- Cilantro – adds delicious herb flavor to the pork.
- Garlic – You can use garlic cloves or pre-packaged garlic in a jar, I prefer using fresh garlic cloves. You can also mash some garlic cloves with a tiny bit of olive oil using a pilón.
- Seasonings – I use dried oregano, dried cumin, salt and ground black pepper.
- Lime Juice – This ingredient is great as it helps balance out the fat to acidity ratio. For some extra juices in your seasoning, you can also try an orange juice marinade.
- Apple Cider Vinegar – it also helps balance out the fat to acidity ratio and adds great flavor.
How To Cook Pernil In The Slow Cooker
How to Season Pernil
- In a food processor, pulse together cilantro, garlic, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, vinegar and lime juice. (Images 1 and 2 below)
- For another choice of seasoning, you can also use adobo or try my homemade latin sofrito recipe.
- Using a pointy knife, poke holes into the pork shoulder. (Image 3 below)
- Rub the seasoning mixture all over the meat pushing some of the seasoning into the small holes. (Image 4 below)
- Cover and place in the refrigerator. Let marinate overnight. (Image 5 below)
How long do I marinate a pernil?
- I recommend marinating your pernil for at least 2-3 hours, preferably overnight. I feel the meat tastes better when it has marinated for a long time.
How long does pernil have to be cooked?
- The next day, place the pork shoulder on the slow cooker and cover with water. Add enough water to cover at least ¾ of the meat inside the slow cooker. Cook on low for about 8 hours. (Image 6 above)
- Once the meat is tender, carefully transfer it to a roasting pan. (Image 7 above)
- Roast in the oven at 450 degrees until brown and crispy, about 1 hour. Take out of the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Shred the meat using two forks. (Image 8 above)
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! But other than just simply rinsing it with water, try soaking it in a mixture of water, white vinegar, and lemon juice. That way, the pernil is thoroughly cleaned out of any bacteria as the lemon juice removes any unwanted taste or smell, while the white vinegar acts as a bacteria killer and tenderizing agent.
To achieve a perfect crispy skin on your pernil, focus on slow cooking the pork and then roasting. This will help you get those delicious crispy bits, while keeping the meat wonderfully juicy and loaded with flavor.
I eat roast pork with almost anything: rice, bread, tostones and on tortillas to make tasty tacos. And you, my friend, can have it anyway you’d like. Here are a few recipe options to serve your pernil:
Arroz con Guandules (Pigeon Peas with Rice)
Moro de Habichuelas (Dominican Rice with Beans)
Macaroni Salad (Ensalada de Coditos)
If you have any leftovers, they will keep well in the fridge for up to 4 days. Either place it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly with foil or plastic wrap.
You can serve the pork cold or reheat it. When you reheat it, you want to be careful not to dry the meat out. Reheat it in an oven-safe dish and pour about ⅛ cup of liquid, either water or broth, into the bottom. Cover with foil and reheat at 300F until warmed through.
Absolutely! You can freeze a pernil for up to 3-6 months, however, it’s best to leave out the chicharron, or the more crispy portion of the pernil as that may not hold after the first day.
You can enjoy anything with leftover pernil. A sandwich, alongside some cassava bread, or tostones. It’s all up to what your heart desires. My Dominican Pulled Pork Sandwich and Cuban Sliders are my family’s favorites!
Recipe Tips and Notes:
- Use a pork shoulder that has it’s bone-in and the skin on. The bone will keep it juicy and flavorful and the skin will crisp up wonderfully.
- Marinate the pernil for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight if you can.
- To roast the pork, be sure that your oven is preheated. This will help to get the skin crispy.
More Easy Slow Cooker Recipes:
Looking for more recipes to make this Christmas? Try these out:
- Pomegranate Holiday Sangria
- Pasteles en Hoja (Dominican Plantain Leaf Packets)
- Easy Arroz con Gandules Recipe (Rice with Pigeon Peas)
- Macaroni Salad (Ensalada de Coditos)
Roasted Pork ShoulderAuthor:
- 5 lbs pork shoulder, bone-in, skin-on
- 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 12 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- juice of 1 lime
- In a food processor, pulse together cilantro, garlic, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, vinegar and lime juice.
- Using a pointy knife, poke holes into the pork shoulder. Rub the seasoning mixture all over the meat pushing some of the seasoning into the small holes. Cover and place in the refrigerator. Let marinate overnight.
- The next day, place the pork shoulder on the slow cooker and cover with water. Add enough water to cover at least 3/4 of the meat inside the slow cooker. Cook on low for about 8 hours.
- Once the meat is tender, carefully transfer it to a roasting pan. Roast in the oven at 450 degrees until brown and crispy, about 1 hour. Take out of the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Shred the meat using two forks.
- Serve with a side of tostones, rice or tortillas.
- Use a pork shoulder that has it’s bone in and the skin on. The bone will keep it juicy and flavorful and the skin will crisp up wonderfully.
- Marinate the pork for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight if you can.
- To roast the pork, be sure that your oven is preheated, This will help to get the skin crispy.
The nutritional information of this recipe and all recipes on mydominicankitchen.com is only an estimate. The accuracy of any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
Linda Ainsworth says
So sad that when you rent a room from someone these days, they typically don’t like baking anything a long time, so thank God for slow cookers.
Looks fantastic! Quick question. Instead of covering 3/4 of the meat with water, can that be substituted with chicken broth or orange juice, or a combo of both?
I’ve never tried it this way, but you could. If you do try it, please let me know how it turns out.
Awesome recipe. Gonna use the same method tonight to cook my pork shoulder. When you marinated it with garlic, how much of the flavor did you taste from the marinade when you ate it?
It has a slight taste of garlic but it’s not overwhelming. Hope you like it. 🙂
Dianne keith says
Hi there I was wondering about cooking in the oven all day like you mentioned how long and at what temperature
Hi Dianne, you can follow my recipe for roasted Cuban pork shoulder for instructions on how to cook it in the oven. 🙂 Here’s the link to that recipe: https://mydominicankitchen.com/cuban-style-roasted-pork-shoulder/
Dora L Stone says
This would go great with a Cuban sandwich!!
Silvia Martinez says
So easy to make and so flavorful
I also love slow cooker, I’m madly in love with my instapot right now.
Wow that look incredible!
@Katy, Thank you!
Hi.. Can you make gravy with the slow cooker juices?
Cooking this as I type… Smelling fantastic… Put it in slow cooker overnight, just about to put in the hot oven and thought it would be a shame to waste slow cooker juice..
Hi Emily. Yes! You can definitely make gravy with the juices on the slow cooker. I’ve never done it myself as I don’t usually add gravy to my pork. But that is definitely a great idea. You can also pass the juices through a strainer and reserve it to use as stock for other soups or stews. Thank you for coming. Please let me know how the gravy turns out. ?
aww I’m so glad I can give you useful tips and tricks! The pics look great and I’m sure it was sooo tasty. Looks delish!! ????
Hi how much water to place on the slow cooker for the pork shoulder? Thanks!
Hello Erika, add enough water to cover at least 3/4 of the meat inside the slow cooker. Sorry if I wasn’t specific. Thanks for reading!
Thanks will try this tomorrow!
Amazing picnic pork!!!