Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pernil



So, if you haven't gotten your Thanksgiving Turkey and put it to defrost, it may be a little late.  I have an idea, though....make a Pernil or Pork Butt (not a ham, but actually the shoulder of the pig).  If you really want pork, but can't afford the pricey ham this is the way to go.  At home I'd get one for 60 cents/pound, and here they happen to have it for a week at my favorite discount grocery store at $1.50 a pound.  I snatched it up even though it wasn't in my normal grocery budget.  Now, this week when the budget is really tough with Thanksgiving around the corner, with a 10 pound pork butt, I managed to get 3 meals from it (maybe it'll be 4 by the weekend).
Pork is almost a staple in our household and it definitely was while growing up.  I have to say, Puertoricans know how to roast pork.  I will never forget the trip I took to Puerto Rico, and the day we had in the mountains where they had a whole pig roasting on a giant pit.  Then my dad and his best friend trying to recreate that in the backyard for our birthday.  Now, I remember those days when I make my Pernil.  Of course, a lot of spices and flavors go to making this pig awesome, but there are 3 things that make it easy and cheap, adobo, sazón, and mojo (pronounced moe-hoe, not what was stolen from Austin Powers).  I happen to buy the Goya brand, and that's really the only brand available in this area, but there are others out there to use.
Enjoy this roast during the holidays!

PERNIL
servings: about 12

1 10 lb pork butt
2 envelopes sazón
adobo (seasoning salt)
1/2 a bottle of mojo
10 garlic cloves (optional)

Set pork butt in a roasting dish.  With a knife, make slits throughout the pork.  Pour the mojo over the pork; season generously with the adobo and sazón.  Rub all ingredients into the pork. Put garlic cloves into slits.  Let pork marinate overnight in refrigerator.
Once ready to roast, take pork out and let pork come up in temperature for 30 minutes.
Set oven to 425°F.  Put pork in oven uncovered for 30 to 45 minutes, until top is crisp.
Turn heat down to 350°F.  Cover with foil and let pork continue roasting until the internal temperature reaches 145°F, 22-26 minutes per pound (10 lbs = 3 1/2 to 4 hrs total).

NOTES:
Pork can also be smoked until internal temperature reaches 145°F.
If bone-in, make sure to take temperature on all sides of bone. Because bone can be at awkward angel, one side may cook faster than the other (this happened to us; not good when meat is still bloody).

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