Saturday, December 04, 2004

Try it. You'll like it.

Absolutely love this stuff. So goood. And so easy from from The Rican Chef Try it with a side of white rice and veggies.

Pernil Al Horno
(a.k.a) Roast Pork Shoulder

It's the traditional holiday meat and it's EASY as 1 - 2 - 3

Note: Season the meat one day ahead and refrigerate.

5 lbs. pork shoulder - picnic cut (with fat) (see here for pic)
7 garlic cloves (You may use powder garlic or ground garlic sold in glass jars - 1 tsp. equals one clove.)
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon crushed oregano
1½ tablespoons olive oil
1½ teaspoon salt

Crush the garlic in a pilón. If you don't have a pilón crush the whole garlic with the side of a wide knife then dice the pieces
In a small bowl mix together the garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and olive oil. Mix well.

Wash the meat and pat dry.

With a sharp knife cut the fat away from the meat keeping it all in one piece. Start at the wide end and go to the narrow end. You don't have to separate it completely - just leave enough still conected so that you can flip the fat over to the side while you season the meat itself. The fat will be placed over the seasoned meat and will cook over the neat to give it more flavor. Season the fat with only salt.

Make very deep slits all over the meat and season the meat making sure that seasoning goes into all the slits. Put the fat back over the meat to look the same as before it was cut.

Refrigerate the shoulder, covered with plastic wrap, for 24 hours.

Let the meat get back into room temperature before cooking. (At least one hour).

Place the meat in a deep pan with the fat side up. There will be a lot of grease so be sure to use a deep pan. The fat side up will make nice crunchy "cueritos." Do NOT cover with foil.

Preheat the over for at least 15 minutes before placing the meat inside. Cook in a 350º oven for about 3½ hours without turning. Then raise the oven temperature to 375º and cook another 20-30 minutes until the skin is crunchy.

Remove the meat from the oven and let it rest on the counter for about 20-30 minutes before carving.

Tips . . .

Pernil should be cooked in a pre-heated 350º oven for 35 minutes per pound. If using a meat thermometer, it will be ready when it reaches 185ºF.

If the picnic cut is not available just buy a pork shoulder - it won't have the fat and you won't get any cueritos - but it will be delicious.

Grill instructions

In the summer we cook our pernil outside on the grill. We do this to prevent the house from heating up. Follow all the instructions above. Put your pernil in a deep pan. But do cover with foil to prevent burning the meat - this means no cueritos. Put the pan on the grill. Cook a bit longer than if using the oven. Cook on high for the first half hour and then on low heat. Keep your eye on it.

Should you have any leftover meat you can make a stir fry with left over rice and the meat. Or - make pernil tacos. Yum!

Dice up the leftover meat.
Add a bit of oil to a large frying pan and heat the meat, add sliced onion. Once the onions are soft, add left over rice. Cook until the rice is hot.

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