Merry Christmas from the Diabetic Kitchen. I hope you had a wonderful holiday with your family and ate amazing meals. The holidays are more about the food than the gifts, at least for me it is.
Pernil – the definition of pork yumminess that can only be called Puerto Rican.
A traditional Puerto Rican Christmas meal always has pernil at the table. Always. And you never mess with traditions. NEVER.
Growing up as a half breed, Mumika chose the English traditions over the Puerto RIcan ones. I have always understood her reasons behind this – Dad died, and she was making sure his traditions were a permanent part of my life. However, in the process, I didn’t know these yummy Puerto Rican traditions until I accepted myself as a Boriqua and researched.
Ironically, Mumika did try to make pernil once. It was 2011. The very pork that sent me to the hospital and nearly killed me. And here I am, making it myself, 3 years later.
The major different is, I got my pork shoulder butt at HEB where I know there meat are prime.
A few things about this Pernil:
I didn’t get the picnic pork shoulder because the HEB where I live didn’t have it. If I had waited until the next day, when I was at a different HEB, I would have found it. So essentially, any pork butt or shoulder or whatever, will do.
Because I didn’t get the picnic pork, there’s wasn’t any fat at the top that melts down into the meat itself creating a crispy skin. So if you don’t want that, don’t get the picnic cut. Some may say, “But you’re missing the best part.” You’re not.
I ended up wrapping the pork in plastic wrap after I put the marinade on there and let it sit in my fridge overnight. So do that. Let the flavors penetrate into the meat.
Also, don’t listen to your Mumika about how long to cook the pernil. She always ends up drying her meat out. As time progressed and we kept sampling the meat to see where we were at, she was adamant about the temp and time. Make sure you have a meat thermometer to poke the pernil with. When it gets to 180, it’s pretty much done.
One of the biggest things to keep in mind is that you are using a mortar and pestle to crush the garlic and combining it with the other ingredients to pretty much make a paste. If you don’t have it, just crush the garlic with the wide end of your knife until you hear a pop and chop it. I ended up crushing the garlic in the roast pan to make sure the garlic was at the bottom of the butt.
6 pounds Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt
6 Cloves of Garlic, pressed
1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 1/4 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 1/4 tablespoon White Vinegar
4 teaspoon Salt
Combine garlic, pepper, oregano, olive oil, vinegar and salt.
Rub pork with garlic mixture all over pork.
Stab pork repeatedly (my favorite part, it lets me relieve any murderous ideas) and stuff the knife openings with the garlic.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Put pork into a roasting pan.
Preheat oven at 400 and cook to pork at 400 for about 50 minutes.
After that, lower the temperature to 300 for the rest of the time.
This is where research gets tricky. Some people say cook for 20 minutes per pound, others say it’s 35 minutes per pound.
I say, check with a meat thermometer and cut a piece off every time you check it until its where you want it. When it gets all cooked and crispy like, it’s pretty much done.
Makes a lot.
It came out amazing. Tasted just like Puerto Rico.
I was actually quite impressed with the results. And it was nice and moist, and happiness.
And I have all sorts of ideas for it – Cuban sandwiches, pernil empanadas, pork buns.
It’s going to be amazing.