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Pernil Cuban Mojo Pork

Cuban Mojo Roasted Pork Shoulder (Pernil)

This Cuban Mojo Roasted Pork Shoulder (Pernil) is going to take you step by step, with the goal of helping you achieve lechon nirvana.

If there is anything that a Cuban should have, it is a classic cuban mojo pork recipe. This Slow Roasted Mojo Pork Shoulder Recipe is everything you are going to need.

This Slow Roasted Mojo Pork Shoulder Recipe is going to be amazing any time of year. However it does become especially important in December. When you start to sing “It’s beginning to smell a lot like mojo”

Cuban Mojo Roasted Pork and Noche Buena

In the month of December there is Christmas, but one cannot overlook Noche Buena. Noche Buena is traditionally one of the greatest nights in any big Cuban or latin family. As kids, we both look forward to it all year. As children, it was partly for the presents, but it was always more than that.

Noche Buena was the night you saw every single tia, tio, every cousin, every family member from the deep depths of the family tree. Everyone came dressed up and ready for a good time. There was music, there was laughter, there was wine and there was food.

Oh boy, was there food! Year after year it was a gorgeous table spread packed with all the Cuban Noche Buena essentials. The fluffy White Rice, the Black Beans, Yuca dripping in mojo and of course the juicy Lechon. The lechon that you know your Abuelo and uncles have been cooking all day in the backyard.

“God bless, The Caja China,” you whisper as you take in a whiff of that garlicky sweetness that is just rising off the plate. For us, that smell is like going home again.

Enter the Cuban Slow Roasted Mojo Pork Recipe. We chose the Pernil, or the pork shoulder, for this mojo pork recipe because it is a little more accessible and realistic for the day to day pork roasting. We don’t need to roast the entire pig to get the same results. The truth is we all just end up fighting over the belly and the shoulder anyway, so why go through all the hassle. Especially if you are not hosting too many people. In fact, this dish is easy enough to whip out on a random Sunday dinner.

The Pernil is the bone-in shoulder of the pork cooked with the skin on. You could also do this same recipe with a “Palleta” (bone-in pork butt) if that is your preference. We know it seems like a lot of salt, but trust us- it needs it. We want you to think of the pork like a potato. It needs enough salt to give it flavor.

This recipe is what Christmas dreams are made of! Let’s make our Cuban Slow Roasted Mojo Pork Recipe.

Slow Roasted Mojo Pork Shoulder (Pernil)

Recipe by abcubanCourse: EntreeCuisine: CubanDifficulty: Moderate


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1, 4 to 5-pound pork shoulder

  • Abuela’s Mojo marinade

  • 10 garlic cloves

  • 5-6 tablespoons of salt Kosher Salt

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil

  • 4 -5 onions, thickly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons of Abuela’s sazon

  • 4 bay leaves


  • Two days before roasting, clean pork shoulder with cold water and pat dry. Then only on the flesh side, slit deep cuts into the meat. Add a garlic clove into each slit. This will give flavor and help the marinade penetrate the meat.
  • Pour the mojo marinade all over the pork. Add 3 tablespoons of salt all over the pork. Add the sazon only to the bottom part of the pork. You want to avoid adding the sazon to the skin because it can burn.
  • Leave in the fridge at least one night. But- two nights is ideal.
  • The day you are ready to roast, remove the pork from the refrigerator 2 hours before roasting time.
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare a large roasting pan. Cover the bottom with the onions and bay leaves. Drizzle the remaining marinade all over the onions. Place the marinated pork on top.
  • Scrape any marinade off the pork shoulder’s skin and season with the remaining salt all over. Add the olive oil just over the skin. Remember- you don’t want anything on the skin because it can burn.

  • Roast for 4 hours.
  • Every hour move the pork around to be sure it is evenly cooking. ***Do not baste with the juices. The skin can become soggy.mmIf the skin gets too much color, lower the heat to 300 degrees or very loosely cover the most cooked area with aluminum foil.
  • The roast is ready when the skin is crispy. The meat will easily pull apart and the juices run clear.

Recipe Video