Here’s another Christmas Eve recipe for you, Pernil. It’s a bone-in pork shoulder slow-cooked in herbs and spices. You will need to spend quite some time in the kitchen, but the result is truly superb.

Pernil by Diverse Dinners

Pernil is a Latin American dish traditionally served on Christmas Eve. It usually makes an appearance more than once during the Christmas season. For two reasons:

  1. It’s a large cut of meat
  2. It is so tasty.

I love cooking Pernil, it’s a true labor of love for me. Thankfully, this recipe is rather simple.

The first step is to cut into the meat to create slits and pockets. Then the other ingredients are blended together to make a flavor-packed marinade. The marinade is poured all over the meat. No need to marinate, it goes straight into the oven. Slow roasting comes next checking regularly and turning halfway through cooking. As I said, it’s a labor of love, but don’t be afraid to put the work into this recipe, the results are phenomenal.

The scent of the Pernil will make you salivate while it is cooking. However, the most exciting step is cutting into the meat. It will just fall away in a juicy tumble. It will be impossible to avoid popping the first slice in your mouth, so go ahead, do it!

I should point out that you really don’t need a knife to eat Pernil, it will fall away from the bone very easily, allowing you to shred the meat quickly and easily.

You can create a Christmas Eve feast using Pernil, just add rice and beans, tostones, tomato salad, stewed beans or whatever you fancy. The result will be a very tasty and rather exceptional meal to share.

As I mentioned, you will likely have leftover Pernil, but worry not, you can rustle up some tacos or sandwiches a day or two later. Don’t worry about the meat drying out, it wont, Pernil will continue to stay juicy and tasty until you’ve gobbled up every morsel.

Pernil by Diverse Dinners

Pork shoulder is shrouded in skin which helps to keep the Pernil moist. I’m not a fan of the skin, so I simply cut it away when serving. However, if you want to enjoy the skin don’t let me stop you.


Serves 10


30 minPrep Time

4 hrCook Time

4 hr, 30 Total Time

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  • 7 lb - 10 lb bone-in pork shoulder
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • Equipment & Utensils
  • Large and deep roasting pan
  • Aluminum foil


  1. Rinse and pat dry pork shoulder.
  2. Cut a large slits under the skin to create deep pockets, and then make small incisions all over the pork shoulder - enough to allow the marinade to collet in the cuts.
  3. Place balance of ingredients into a blender and blend on high until ingredients are smooth.
  4. Place meat into a large bowl and pour the marinade all over the meat.
  5. Make sure the marinade collects in the cuts and slits you made.
  6. Transfer meat to a roasting pan skin down and pour excess marinade on top, then cover with foil.
  7. Place in a preheated oven at 325 and cook for 40 mins per lb
  8. Once pork has been cooking for half the time it will need remove from oven.
  9. Remove foil. You will notice that a considerable amount of juices has fallen from the meat
  10. If necessary, pour out some of the juices.
  11. Turn over meat before returning to the oven.
  12. Continue cooking for the balance of the time needed without the foil.
  13. Once you are able to easily pull the meat away with a fork, the Pernil is done.


If the skin begins to char, cover with foil, but remove for the last 10 mins to crisp the skin.