This two-day method is one of my nana’s recipes that I don’t stray from. I puncture the pork shoulder all over and insert a gargantuan number of whole garlic cloves into each slit. I rub the pork with a mixture of olive oil, sazón, and heaps of oregano. I purchase my pork shoulder only at the same neighborhood market where my grandma purchased hers. And I make pernil only for Christmas. Nothing reminds me of my grandma more—and nothing brings me to tears quicker—than the smell of rendered pork fat, oregano, and garlic as it fills up the house.
- 1 (7-to 9-pound) bone-in pork shoulder or butt
- 10 -15 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons sazón
- Freshly ground black pepper
- The night before cooking, using a small paring knife, poke ten to fifteen holes in the pork shoulder and stuff a garlic clove into each one. Rub the olive oil all over the pork, then thoroughly massage the shoulder with the oregano and sazón. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Place the pork in a roasting pan and refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F.
- Roast the pork shoulder, basting every hour, for 5 to 6 hours, or until the meat is very tender. Then turn the oven temperature to 400°F, arrange the pork shoulder skin-side up, and roast for 1 hour more.
- Let the pork rest for about 15 minutes, giving the skin a chance to crisp. Cut into large chunks, but please don’t finely shred the pork.
- Serve the pernil immediately.