I saw this thread by Tas awhile back and ever since reading it I have been wanting to make some Pernil. Due to everyday life I have not had the chance to do it until now but have been thinking about it all the time. Also I have been trying to find Naranja Agria but can’t find it anywhere so I gave up and made my own. Since the Pernil sparked my interest so much I started reading a lot of recipes and found there are many different ways to make it so I took a little here and a little there and just made my own. Most recipes I read were pretty close with the main things being a lot of garlic and some acid to get it into the meat. A lot use red or white wine vinegar and a lot use Naranja Agria (bitter orange juice). I really liked the sound of the citrus over the vinegar so that started my hunt , which failed, so I made my own.
Naranja Agria Substitute:
1 tsp orange zest
Squeeze all the juice out of the fruits into a bowl, add the orange zest and set in the refrigerator for a few hours. Then strain out all the zest and pulp and you have it.
Now to make the marinade for the Pernil, I took the juice I just made and poured it into a blender with 12 cloves of garlic and pulsed it a few times. You don’t want to liquefy the garlic you want it a little chunky. To this I added
1 TBS coarse grind black pepper
1 TBS kosher salt
1 tsp cumin
Mix it up real good and that’s all there is to it.
Most Pernil is made from a pork shoulder with the skin still on but I don’t really like the skin or all that fat so I chose to use a bone in Boston butt. It’s about 9 lbs and I only trimmed a little of the fat cap. I usually lean trim my butts but decided to leave some fat on this one.
Now to get the marinade into the meat, take a boning knife and stab it into it a couple of inches deep, wiggle it around to open up a hole and using a spoon pour the marinade into the hole. I did this all the way around it probably 40 times. Then pour all the remaining marinade all over it, wrap it up and put it in the refrigerator. Let it sit at least overnight or up to 3 days. I let mine sit for 3 days.
Now just cook it low and slow like you would any pork butt. I read a lot cook them in the oven but I chose to break in my Mini WSM with it. I built this a few months ago but again everyday life has gotten in the way of me using it. I fired it up to season it yesterday and it was running really hot but I finally got it settled down. I fired it back up this morning and it is running much better. I am going a little hot to start because of stabbing the Pernil so many times I want to make sure I hit the 140* fairly quickly then I will tune it down a bit for some low and slow to finish.
Sorry no pictures of making the marinade, I was kind of in a hurry, a lot was going on that day but it was just squeezing some fruit in a bowl and that’s not real exciting so you didn't miss much.
Here’s the Pernil after resting for 3 days, you can sort of see some of the holes where I stabbed it and the chunkiness of the garlic:
Here it is in the Mini after an hour (I only opened it up so all of you could see it), you can see the temp probe to the right.
Here's a little mod a friend of mine at work came up with, he built a Mini after I showed him pictures on here about them.
I drilled a few small holes and put rubber grommets in two of them, I can slide the smoker temp probe in and the grommet holds it in place. No need for a rack clip and I can measure at either rack I want. The third hole is to route the meat temp probe in to the smoker:
My Mini chugging along:
I am also going to bake some Pan Agua (Cuban rolls) today for some Cuban sandwiches.
I'll be back later with some updates so stay tuned to SMF!