Roasted Ruby Red Pork Shoulder

November 26, 2012

Turkey time has passed and ideas for leftovers are probably not needed anymore so my focus from now until Christmas Eve is to give you food ideas for holiday entertaining, gift giving and the biggest meal in Latin culture: Nochebuena (Chritsmas Eve).

Today is my first post on a Latin inspired menu for your Chritsmas dinner. Every Monday I will include a dish/drink that you can include in your holiday feast. Here is my menu for this year.

I plan to accompany this Ruby Red infused Pork Shoulder with:

Phyllo Wrapped Yucca Gorgonzola Mash

Beef Pastelitos (Beef Mini Empanadas)

Pasteles en Hoja (Plantain Wrapped in Leaf Pockets)

Ponche Aldmond Delight (Almond Spiked Latin Eggnog)

Today’s recipe is the star of the holiday meal: El Puerco Asado (The Roasted Pork). In my country, the Dominican Republic, we love our Puerco Asao’ and is also called Puerco en Puya (Pork on a stick) as that is THE cooking method of choice. A whole pig gets roasted over an open flame on a stick for hours. This method delivers the most juicy, flaky meat that will be covered by a super crispy flavorful skin which we call Cuerito.

Many other Latin countries serve roasted pork as their main meat served on a Nochebuena dinner.

In Puerto Rico they call it Pernil which the term comes from the Spanish word Pierna (Leg) and in Catalan Pernil is a word which translated to traditional Spanish means ham, though there is a difference between the meaning of its name and the type of meat used, Pernil will mostly be a roasted pork shoulder when the term is used by a Puerto Rican and other Latin Americans.

In Colombia the main pork dish cooked for special occasions like Christmas is called Lechona and is stuffed with rice like in this recipe from Erica at My Colombian Recipes.

In Ecuador is called Hornado de Chancho, they also love the crispy skin which they call Cascaritas. Here is a recipe from Laylita at Layita’s Recipes.

For my Puerco Asado this year I decided to add a twist. The traditional marinade calls for lime juice and/or sour orange juice but I have replaced these by Ruby Red Grapefruit to make a pan jus that has also resulted in an ultra-caramelized crispy skin.

The other key seasoning in this Dominican style Puerco Asado is oregano, lots and lots of oregano is used and the result is to die for.

Roasted Ruby Red Pork Shoulder
  • 7 pounds pork shoulder, skin on
  • 12 cloves of garlic
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons salt
  • 1½ cups ruby red grapefruit juice
  1. To make the Sazón (seasoning) blend garlic, olive oil, oregano, black pepper, onion, cilantro and 2 tablespoons of salt. Set aside. (search the blog for sazon and you'll get the exact recipe)
  2. With a small knife, cut slits about 1 inch deep all over the pork. Rub on the seasoning, making sure to get some in all of the cut slits. Score the skin as it will help render fat and it adds more flavor to the flesh.
  3. Pour 1 cup of the grape fruit juice allowing it to cover and have some of the juices penetrate the slits on the pork.
  4. Place pork in a large container, cover and refrigerate for 6 hours to even 48 hours in advance.
  5. Remove the pork from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature about 30 minutes.
  6. Rub on the remaining tablespoon of salt over the skin.
  7. On a very hot pan sear each side of the pork, allowing some extra time on the skin side as this will help get an even crispier skin.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  9. Roast the pork shoulder covered, skin side up on a deep roasting pan over a rack, for 30 mins per pound.
  10. Pour remaining ½ cup of grapefruit juice in the bottom of the pan with all the seasoning drippings from the pork.
  11. Uncover for the last 30 minutes.
  12. Take out of the oven and wait at least 10 minutes before carving.


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