Slow cooker pernil | Pernil is a traditional Puerto Rican dish that is slow roasted in the oven. This twist takes slowly cooks a boneless pork shoulder in a crockpot until tender. The end result is the most flavorful and tender pork you’ve ever had.
There are rankings when it comes to proteins in Puerto Rico and in Puerto Rico pork is king, followed by chicken, beef, and seafood. But, there is no doubt that pork is the most loved. In fact, there is a whole area in the mountains of Cayey called Guavate where the street is lined with pork vendors. Small restaurants with whole roast pigs in the windows line Carr. 184 in Cayey. It’s a roast pork oasis.
If there is ever a time of year when pernil is most popular it’s Christmas! Every Puerto Rican Christmas Eve dinner requires three things arroz con gandules, pasteles and, of course, pernil! It’s not Christmas without this trinity. In the states you have glazed ham, we do tender pork. But, this doesn’t mean that pernil can’t be enjoyed year round.
There is an entire road in Puerto Rico that is dedicated to the roasting whole pigs. And, nothing more clearly defines authentic Puerto Rican food and our love for pork then Guavate, a small stretch of road along Rt.184 in Cayey Puerto Rico. The road lined with lechoneras, open air restaurants that specialize in slow roasted whole pig. But, not everyone can roast a whole pig so the next best thing is pernil.
Traditionally pernil or Puerto Rican pork shoulder is slow cooked in the oven. When I make it in the oven I cook it at 325 degrees for about 35 minutes for every pound. It comes out perfectly succulent and if you get a shoulder with the skin on you get the bonus of crispy pork skin. The oven roasting method is my favorite. Mainly because of the crispy skin, but oven roasting isn’t always the most convenient.
I love pernil during the holidays and any time of the year. But, sometimes I do not have 3+ hrs to wait for the pork shoulder to roast. This is when I pulled out my slow cooker. All you have to do with slow cooker pernil is drop in the marinated pork shoulder, set it and forget about it. This way when I get home after a busy day I am welcomed by a piping hot batch of slow cooker pernil. How sweet is that?
When you open the slow cooker the pork is floating in its own juices and easily falls apart. You can pull it apart with a spoon it is so tender. Your friends and family will love it and if there are any leftovers you can make some awesome Cuban sandwiches.
How to Make Slow Cooker Pernil
Pork is a large part of Puerto Rican cuisine but, explore more Puerto Rican flavors by visiting my entire collection of Puerto Rican recipes.
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- 4 lb pork shoulder or pork butt
- 6 garlic cloves, pressed
- ¼ teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ tablespoons white vinegar
- 4 teaspoons salt
- Combine garlic, pepper, oregano, olive oil, vinegar, and salt. Rub pork with garlic mixture and refrigerate overnight or a minimum of 4 hours.
- When ready drop into the crockpot on low for 8 hrs.
- Done! Consume with vigor.
Recipe for oven roasted pernil: https://thenoshery.com/roasted-pernil-puerto-rican-roast-pork/
Items used in preparing this recipe:
- Crow Canyon Small Roasting Pan – Grey Marble
- Hamilton Beach Slowcooker
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