+
General Discussion

Let's not call roast pork shoulder pernil

bacallado | Mar 3, 201108:34 AM     18

I want to set something straight. Pernil, a dish popular in the Caribbean countries from Cuba to Venezuela as well as in Brazil, is made with fresh ham. The name of the dish shares a root with the word for leg in Spanish and Portuguese, and I believe it's the Catalan name for ham.

Why is this important? It seems that all recipes to be found in English for pernil use pork shoulder, a very different cut of meat. True pernil recipes call for the fresh center or shank portions of the pig's hind legs, which is a much leaner cut that requires roasting at a pretty high temperature until it's golden and just cooked through -- the same way you'd roast a lamb gigot. The seasonings vary, but oregano and garlic feature prominently in general. In my family, we use orange juice to make a pan jus.

Do I have anything against pork shoulder pernil? Not really, it's only that calling it pernil makes me cringe a little. The truth is that roasting a heavily seasoned piece of pork shoulder at 350F for 3 hours is one of the best ways to produce juicy, flavorful pork that will stay together while slicing. I might even like it better than true pernil.

Pork shoulder pernil was probably popularized by Puerto Ricans in the United States. I must admit that, like most Puerto Rican bastardizations of the Spanish language, this one is quite luscious.

Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

More from Chowhound

Marie Kondo's Guide to Bento Box Lunches Your Kids Will Love
Guides

Marie Kondo's Guide to Bento Box Lunches Your Kids Will Love

by Grace Gonzalez | Marie Kondo is famous for her helpful organization hacks, and now—just in time for back to school...

Quick and Healthy Summer Recipes You Can Make with Your Kids
Recipe Round-Ups

Quick and Healthy Summer Recipes You Can Make with Your Kids

by Joey Skladany | Summer is the season of activity. Whether it's a cross-country vacation, hiking a local trail, or...

Salute Summer with these 15 Gin and Tonic Variations
Drink

Salute Summer with these 15 Gin and Tonic Variations

by Amy Sowder | Looking for some interesting spins on the classic gin and tonic? Rosé and the Aperol Spritz may be...

These Wine Coolers Are Not the Ones You Drank in College
Recipe Round-Ups

These Wine Coolers Are Not the Ones You Drank in College

by Chowhound Editors | One upon a time, the wine cooler—a pour of Chablis from the jug, topped off with fizzy water—was the...

See what's new!

View latest discussions ›

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.