Recipe courtesy of Daniela Swamp for Food Network Kitchen


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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 9 hr 30 min (includes marinating and resting times)
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
In Puerto Rico, it isn’t the holidays without pernil. You'll find the slow-roasted pork shoulder with crispy skin on tables from Christmas Eve to New Year's, with staples such as pasteles, arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas) and potato salad served alongside. This adobo and sofrito marinade--which includes green olives in a nod to my abuela's recipe--penetrates the pork with incredible flavor. The succulent meat and crispy skin that forms on top at the end are what make this a dish to look forward to every year.






  1. For the sofrito: Add the cilantro, olive oil, garlic, olives, sweet peppers and onion to a blender and process to a puree.
  2. For the adobo: Toss the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano and pepper in a small bowl. Add to the blender and process to combine with the sofrito. Set the marinade aside.
  3. For the pork: Pat the pork shoulder dry with paper towels. Make an incision to separate the skin from the meat, creating a pocket without removing the skin entirely. Transfer to a large bowl. Rub the shoulder with the vinegar, first in the pocket between the skin and meat and then all around the shoulder. Transfer the shoulder to a roasting pan, letting excess vinegar drain off first.
  4. Lift the skin flap and make 1-inch incisions with the tip of a paring knife all over the top of the meat, then flip and make additional incisions on the bottom. Rub the marinade all over the bottom and then under and over the skin and sides. Position the shoulder with the skin facing up and covering the meat. Cover with foil and let marinate, refrigerated, at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
  5. Wipe off any excess marinade from the pork with paper towels. Sprinkle the sazón seasoning all over, if using, and rub to distribute. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Cover the roasting pan with foil and roast until the pernil is tender and the internal temperature is between 180 and 200 degrees F, about 3 hours.
  8. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F, uncover the pernil and continue to roast, basting halfway through with the pan juices, until the skin is crisp, about another hour.
  9. Let the pernil rest for 20 minutes, then separate the crispy skin from the meat. Cut the skin into bite-size pieces and shred the meat into chunks.

Cook’s Note

The sazón will add flavor but also a bit more salt. If you are sensitive to salt, you can skip this step