Pernil Asado (Garlicky Roast Pork Shoulder)


This ultraflavorful Puerto Rican classic roast pork shoulder marinates overnight in a blend of citrus, garlic, and herbs, then cooks slowly in the oven until it's deeply caramelized.

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
15 hrs
10 servings

Chef Jose Enrique’s version of the Puerto Rican classic pernil asado is extra flavorful because he marinates the pork in lime and orange juices, as well as plenty of garlic, before roasting until the meat is caramelized and crispy. It can be carved, shredded, or pulled into large pieces for serving. It’s no wonder that pernil is a traditional Christmas dish that’s ideal for family gatherings.

You'll want to start preparing this pork shoulder roast a day in advance since the meat needs to marinate overnight. The next day, take it out of the fridge and remove from the marinade about six and a half hours before you plan to serve the dish — the pork roasts at a higher temperature for an hour to brown, then stays in the oven an additional four hours at a reduced temperature to cook all the way through.


  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

  • 1/2 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1/2 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed

  • 9 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 3 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to season

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to season

  • 1 boneless pork shoulder roast with fat cap (5 pounds)

  • Lime wedges, for serving


  1. In a large, sturdy resealable plastic bag, combine the cilantro, orange and lime juices, garlic, oregano, olive oil, 2 tablespoons of kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Add the pork shoulder, seal the bag, and turn to coat. Transfer the bag to a large baking dish and refrigerate the pork overnight, turning the bag once or twice.

  2. Remove the pork from the marinade and scrape off the garlic and herbs; discard the marinade. Season the pork all over with salt and pepper and transfer to a large enameled cast-iron casserole. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Roast the pork fat side up for 1 hour, until lightly browned. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F and roast for 4 hours longer, until the pork is very tender and the fat cap is crispy; transfer to a carving board and let rest for 30 minutes. Chop the fat cap into bite-size pieces. Carve, shred, or pull apart the pork and garnish with the crispy cap pieces. Serve with lime wedges.

Garlicky Roast Pork Shoulder
© Con Poulos

Make ahead

The roast pork can be refrigerated overnight; rewarm in a 300°F oven.

Serve with

Black beans and rice.

Suggested pairing

Try a tangy beer from Belgium or a fruity saison with this vibrant pork.

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