Saturday, May 19, 2012


I made this pork shoulder roast for mother's day.  I am glad to report that my mom couldn't wait to taste it, she really liked it, and she complimented the way I had cooked it.  Wow!  My mother giving compliments!  As I have written in this blog before, a compliment from my mother is a hard thing to get.  My cooking must be getting better.  We packed up the roast and headed to my brother's house, where our family's mother's day barbecue was to take place.  In addition to the roast, we had salad, corn on the cob, souvlaki, grilled chicken, and grilled asparagus.  My sister in law had marinated the meats and she and I threw them on the grill.  There were done in no time.  Off we went and sat around the table, where we all enjoyed a delicious dinner.  All the mothers were very pleased, and all of them thought the pork shoulder was very well roasted.  Actually, it could be pulled apart with a serving fork.  No knife was required.  There was roast left over, and a few of the guests took some home.  That was further indication to me that the recipe was good, and that the roast came out delicious.  
I needed the approval because this was the first time I attempted to make pork shoulder roast.  It certainly won't be the last.  As is my habit, I checked quite a few recipes, most of which are posted on the Internet.  Then, I made up my very own version.  I call this recipe pernil, which I believe means ham in Spanish.  Pernil is a popular recipe in Spanish and Latin American cuisine.  However, since I don't have a Spanish background, I don't know how authentic my "pernil" is.  I'll consider it a pernil hybrid:  part Spanish, part Cuban, part Greek.  It's all good though.  In order to cook this roast, one needs to think in advance.  It needs about 12 hours to marinate, and then it needs to cook in a low oven for about 4½ hours. 

Ingredients for the rub:
2 teaspoons lime juice (or lemon juice if you prefer)
rind from one lime
rind from one orange
juice from one orange
one red onion cut in cubes
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
2 bay leaves, crumbled
8 cloves garlic, peeled 
3 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon cumin powder
4 tablespoons fresh parsley, stems can be included
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tablespoon rosemary leaves
olive oil: start with 3 tablespoons, use more as needed

Additional Ingredients:
One lean 5 to 6 pound pork shoulder roast
To press into the meat: 4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
1tablespoon rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons parsley
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons thyme 
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
one tablespoon lemon juice (or lime juice)
Kitchen twine to tie up the meat
1 cup of beef broth
Place the ingredients for the rub in a food processor and grind them up until they form a paste.  Taste to see if the rub is up to your standards.  You may need to add a little more of this or that. In my case I needed to add more garlic and more olive oil.
Have a pork shoulder that weighs about 5 to 6 pounds.  I got mine from Costco, where it's always available when a holiday is near.  Costco pork shoulder is sold in a package of 2 and comes boneless and butterflied.  Its weight is approximately 12 pounds and it costs about 20 dollars.  I think that's a great bargain.  
I rinsed the pork under cold water and dried it with paper towels.  Then I wrapped up the smaller piece and  put it the freezer.  The other piece went on the kitchen counter to be prepared for cooking.  I know that roast pork is supposed to include a layer of fat that will cook crisp and taste wonderful. The fat layer is also supposed to keep the roast moist while it's cooking. Still, I also know that a layer of fat is a wonderful way to clog up a few arteries.  So did I use any fat?  No way.  Although the pork shoulder was not very fatty, I still trimmed off as much fat as I could get to.  I also trimmed off some pieces of sinew that didn't look very appetizing.  With a knife I cut 4 slits in the meat and I inserted a clove of garlic into each slit. Then I poured the rub over the meat and went to work.  With my hands, I slathered the rub all over, covering every little spot.  I placed the meat in a plastic bag, sealed it well, and put it in the refrigerator.  I let it marinate overnight, about 12 hours total.
The pork is marinating inside an oven roasting bag.  These bags are the right size to accommodate a larger roast. 

Early the next morning I took the roast out of the refrigerator. I left it on the counter and allowed it to come to room temperature. Meanwhile, I made an herb stuffing:  into my food processor I added the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the lemon juice, the rosemary leaves, the thyme leaves, the parsley, and the garlic. I pulsed the processor a few times until the mixture turned into a paste. I removed the meat from the plastic bag and placed it on a cutting board.  I seasoned it with salt and pepper.  Then I slathered the herb stuffing on the side of the meat where the bone used to be.  Next, it was time to tie the roast.     
Yep, it's tied up well!

I tied it well so that the herb stuffing would be contained between the layers of the meat.  My oven had been preheated to 450° F.  I placed the meat into a Dutch oven and I added the cup of beef broth.  
Add a cup of broth and it's ready for the oven.

The meat went into the oven and cooked uncovered at 450°F for 1/2 an hour. Then I covered the pot and lowered the temperature to 300°F.  I roasted the pork for about 4 hours, until the meat was very tender and could be pulled apart very easily with a fork. So that was it.  We enjoyed it on mother's day, and we had a little left over for the next day. 
We served the leftover pork over homemade noodles topped with ground Parmesan cheese. We really loved this roast and I am so glad that I decided to make it.  It was something new for me, and the experience was worth it.  


  1. Pork tastes good to eat, but I agree with you, the fat must be removed. I'm glad you did that, and it must have been delish!

  2. Mmmm...this looks absolutely delicious, Ana. Even though I've never been a big pork fan, this is definitely something I'm going to try in the near future.

  3. Roasted meat with spices and citrus is such a good combination! This pork looks perfect!

  4. We like pork. This variety of ingredients sounds delicious, we think we would like it very much.