Roasted Pork Shoulder

Or, pernil al horno if you’re feeling fancy.

In case you had any confusion, I’m a pretty big fan of pork. It was pork, in fact, that broke my years-long teenage commitment to vegetarianism. While bacon is the gateway meat of many a temporary vegetarian, it was pepperoni for me. That spicy, salty, crispy goodness on top of pizza proved too much to resist.

Over the past few years, I’ve branched out substantially beyond pepperoni, bacon, and pork chops, and have embraced chicharrones, lechon, scotch eggs, and all variety of carnitas (two of my favorite recipes are here and here). I’ve grilled it, crocked it (such as here and here), and cooked it on the stove top, but, with the exception of the crispy pork belly roast, I’ve rarely used my oven for pork. Until now.

If you like to start drooling about 2 hours before your food is ready, this recipe’s for you. Grab a pork shoulder, some basic spices, and get ready to reap the rewards of low(ish), slow(ish) cooking!

Roasted Pork Shoulder (Pernil al horno)
Adapted from Tyler Florence

  • 1 boneless pork shoulder or butt (about 4 pounds)
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • ~1/2 oz. oregano (about 1 bunch), leaves stripped from stems
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt (1/2 tablespoon for every pound of meat)
  • lots of coarsely ground black pepper (about 1 T.)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • plastic wrap
  1. Using your knife, try to mash together the garlic cloves, oregano, kosher salt, and black pepper until it forms a kind of paste.
  2. Add this mixture to a small bowl and combine with the red pepper flakes, olive oil, and red wine vinegar.
  3. Using a knife, make some small incisions in your pork shoulder on top and bottom. Rub mixture all over the pork, making sure to get it into the cuts you’ve put in the pork. Wrap it all up tightly in saran wrap and put it in the refrigerator over night (minimum ~3 hours).
  4. Day of: take your pork out of the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking (have read elsewhere you could take it out up to an hour or two or a little more, but let’s err on the side of caution). Preheat oven to 350. When ready to go, put your pork in a roasting pan (just trying to elevate it off of the drippings). Roast for 2 and a half hours, or until internal temperature is about 160.
  5. KEY STEP! Once you take it out of the oven, let it rest for 10 minutes before digging in.
  6. Enjoy!

Note: My pork was skinless (sad) and had a minimal fat pad on it (also sad). If you can find skin-on pork, or one with a nice layer of fat intact, that would be best. But, if you can’t, it will still turn out super delicious!

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