Rican Pernil Recipe

Rican Pernil Recipe: Easy & Flavorful

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Rican Pernil, also known as Puerto Rican roast pork, is a dish deeply rooted in tradition and bursting with flavor. This slow-roasted pork shoulder marinated in a blend of aromatic herbs and spices is a staple at many festive occasions and family gatherings. The tender, juicy meat with crispy skin is sure to be a hit with everyone at the table. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of preparing this mouthwatering dish step by step, from selecting the perfect cut of meat to serving it up with all the fixings. Get ready to embark on a culinary journey to the heart of Puerto Rican cuisine!


  • Meat:
    • 8 lb Roast pork (pork shoulder or pork butt)
  • Produce:
    • 12 Garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 tsp Oregano
  • Canned Goods:
    • 2 tsp Adobo seasoning
  • Condiments:
    • 1/4 cup Sofrito (homemade or store-bought)
  • Baking & Spices:
    • 2 tsp Maggi seasoning
    • 3 tsp Salt
    • 1 packet Sazon seasoning
    • 1/2 tsp Ground black pepper
  • Oils & Vinegars:
    • 2/3 cup Vegetable oil


  1. Prepare the Marinade: In a bowl, combine the minced garlic, oregano, Adobo seasoning, Sofrito, Maggi seasoning, salt, pepper, and vegetable oil. Mix well to create a flavorful marinade.
  2. Marinate the Pork: Place the roast pork in a large resealable plastic bag or a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over the pork, making sure it is evenly coated. Massage the marinade into the meat, ensuring it penetrates all sides. Seal the bag or cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, to allow the flavors to meld.
  3. Preheat the Oven: Remove the marinated pork from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes while preheating the oven to 325°F (160°C).
  4. Roast the Pork: Place the marinated pork in a roasting pan or on a wire rack set inside a baking sheet. Cover the pork loosely with aluminum foil to prevent the top from burning while allowing it to cook slowly and retain moisture. Roast in the preheated oven for approximately 4-5 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 190-200°F (88-93°C) and the meat is tender and falling apart.
  5. Crisp the Skin: Once the pork is fully cooked, remove the foil and increase the oven temperature to 450°F (232°C). Return the pork to the oven and continue roasting for an additional 30 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and golden brown.
  6. Rest and Serve: Remove the pork from the oven and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before slicing. Serve the Rican Pernil hot, accompanied by your favorite sides such as rice, beans, and plantains.

Cook Notes and Variations

  • Slow Cooker Method: If you prefer, you can cook the marinated pork in a slow cooker on low heat for 8-10 hours until tender. Finish by transferring the pork to a baking sheet and crisping the skin in the oven as directed.
  • Citrus Marinade: Add the juice of oranges, limes, or lemons to the marinade for a tangy twist and extra moisture.
  • Herb Variations: Experiment with different herbs such as cilantro, parsley, or thyme to customize the flavor profile of the marinade.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions

  • Keto Version: This recipe is naturally low in carbs and suitable for a keto diet. Serve the Rican Pernil with keto-friendly sides such as cauliflower rice or roasted vegetables.
  • Low-Carb Version: Skip the Sofrito, which may contain onions and peppers, to reduce the carb content further. Stick to the herbs and spices for flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I use a different cut of pork for this recipe? A: While pork shoulder or pork butt is traditional for Rican Pernil, you can also use pork loin or pork tenderloin, though they may not be as juicy or flavorful.

Q: Can I make this recipe ahead of time? A: Yes, you can marinate the pork overnight and roast it the next day. Leftover Rican Pernil can also be stored in the refrigerator for several days and reheated.

Q: What can I serve with Rican Pernil? A: Rican Pernil pairs well with classic Puerto Rican sides such as arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), tostones (fried plantains), or maduros (sweet plantains).

Q: How can I achieve crispy skin on the pork? A: To achieve crispy skin, increase the oven temperature during the final stage of cooking and leave the pork uncovered.

Rican Pernil is more than just a meal—it’s a celebration of flavor, tradition, and community. With its tender, succulent meat and bold, aromatic spices, this dish captures the essence of Puerto Rican cuisine in every bite. Whether you’re serving it up for a special occasion or simply craving a taste of home, this easy and flavorful recipe is sure to become a family favorite. So gather your ingredients, fire up the oven, and get ready to savor the rich and savory goodness of Rican Pernil!

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