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Milk Street Bowtie Puerto Rican Slow-Cooked Pork Roast (Pérnil al Caldero)

Puerto Rican Slow-Cooked Pork Roast (Pérnil al Caldero)

8 Servings
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When readying the house for family gatherings and holidays, Teryluz Andreu’s mother, Tere, always set two extra places at the dinner table. Despite being a professor and busy mother of four, Tere was a generous hostess, welcoming any guest who might stop by on a whim. When feeding a crowd, her go-to was pérnil al caldero: a Puerto Rican staple of succulent slow-cooked pork with shatteringly crisp skin. Pérnil is a pork roast, usually either the shoulder or ham, and caldero refers to the dish’s cooking vessel—an aluminum pot with rounded sides, a tight-fitting lid and excellent heat conduction. For Andreu, who recently relocated to Miami by way of Chicago, the dish is a reminder of celebratory times and growing up in Humacao, a small beach town in southeastern Puerto Rico. When she set out to replicate her mother’s pérnil, Andreu knew how to make the adobo: a garlicky, oregano-spiced marinade enhanced by tangy white vinegar. But achieving the dish’s characteristic crisp skin on the outside, with juicy meat inside, “evaded her every time.” Through many rounds of testing, we found the best way to ensure fall-apart-tender meat as well as golden, crackling skin was by braising the roast stovetop, then removing the skin as a single piece and frying it in a skillet. Of course, a caldero is the traditional choice for preparing pérnil al caldero, but a large Dutch oven (one with a capacity of 7 to 8 quarts) works perfectly well.

8

Servings

15 medium garlic cloves, peeled, divided
2 tablespoons dried oregano, divided
3 tablespoons white vinegar, divided, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
5 to 7 pound bone-in, skin-on Boston butt roast or pork picnic shoulder
1½ cups grapeseed, vegetable or other neutral oil
Ingredients
  • 15

    medium garlic cloves, peeled, divided

  • 2

    tablespoons dried oregano, divided

  • 3

    tablespoons white vinegar, divided, plus more to taste

  • 2

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 5 to 7

    pound bone-in, skin-on Boston butt roast or pork picnic shoulder

  • cups grapeseed, vegetable or other neutral oil

Directions

Puerto Rican Slow-Cooked Pork Roast (Pérnil al Caldero)

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