There is nothing more quintessentially Puerto Rican than a deliciously tender, slow roasted pork shoulder, known as pernil. Pernil is the centerpiece of most of our holiday meals, and any other big celebration that calls for feeding a big crowd. It so happens to be my beautiful niece’s 4th birthday tomorrow, so I volunteered to bring this tasty dish to the festivities. This large, bone-in roast is slathered in a pungent blend of garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and olive oil, and is usually baked low and slow in the oven, with the slab of fatty pig skin sitting on top, so it slowly bastes the meat and gets crunchy. In order to make this a weeknight friendly and stress free dish, I decided to buck tradition and make it in the slow cooker. My family was skeptical at first, but it turns out that a slow cooker is the key to a guaranteed tender and moist roast. You can’t achieve the crunchy skin thing, but really no one minds, I think we’re doing ourselves a favor by sparing our arteries anyway. Pernil that’s roasted in the oven can become dry and tough without proper attention, but the moist environment of the slow cooker makes that virtually impossible. This pernil is tender, moist, juicy, aromatic, and shreds like pulled pork with no effort, just a slow cooker! A delish dish that’s foolproof and weeknight friendly? WOO! Let’s do this.
- 7-8 pound picnic pork shoulder (skin removed)
- 14-16 cloves garlic (peeled)
- 1½ tablespoon kosher salt
- ½ tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- ¼ cup olive oil