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Jesse’s Lechon Asado (Pernil for the Boricua)


One of my most popular dishes.  It’s the easiest thing in the world to do.  But you need to plan ahead.  You’ll see why…

Jesse’s Lechon Asado (Pernil for the Boricua)

  • 1 pork butt – I use bone-in most of the time because it is easier to find.  Mine average about 6 pounds.
  • 12 garlic cloves, mashed or minced.
  • 2 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. dried ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. white vinegar
  • 5 tbsp. Kosher salt - A good rule of thumb is 1 tbsp. per pound of pork butt, minus a 3/4 or 1 full tbsp.   For example…an 8 pound butt?  7 tbsp. or 7 1/4 tbsp.
  • 2 tbsp. black ground pepper


Mix all ingredients in a glass bowl.  Mix them well.  Set aside.

Lay pork on a cutting board fat side up.   Trim it off.  As much fat as you can get off of it without losing too much of the actual meat.  Grab a filet knife and just cut it off.  Don’t worry about moisture.  Pork butts have plenty of fat marbled throughout.  There will be no loss of flavor.  We just want to make sure it cooks well.  You’ll understand later.

Cut slits in the pork across the length of the butt.  Then down the width.  Like you are making a checker board.  About an inch, inch and a half.  When you are done, your pork should look like a series of squares across the top AND the bottom.  (Yes, turn it over and do the same to the other side)

Grab the spice mixture and rub it evenly all over the pork butt.  Both sides.  Make sure it gets in there real good, inside those slits you have cut into it.

Wrap it up and put it in the fridge at a minimum of overnight (I do mine for 48 hours)

The day you are ready to cook it…low and slow (as always).  Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees.  Pull the pork out of the fridge and let is sit for 30-45 minutes before going into the oven.

Put the butt in a roasting pan and let it go.  Three to four hours easily.  **See note below.

Since we peeled a lot of fat off, it is going to look like it is dried out.  We WANT to outer portion to look crispy.  Cuban pork is always well done.

Obviously the butt will shrink quite a bit as the fat melts off, but it will all stay in the pan.  The key is to let it roast to a nice crust.  Which it will.

**Roasting note:  All ovens are different.  You may know if yours runs hotter or cooler on average.  The key with this roast is to let it go until it is crusty.  If your oven runs hotter, you may get crusty relatively quickly.  But that doesn’t mean this inside of the roast is done.  It’s likely not.  Cover it with foil.  But don’t adjust the temperature.

When the pork is done, let it rest for 20-30 minutes.  It should pull apart very softly.  Pull the pork and let it rest in its own juices.  Eat It and Like It hot and use the leftovers for sandwiches!




  1. Evelin Lopez|6 July 2012|1:27AM


    We do not use Cumino or onion powder.

  2. Matthew Gunzburger|1 April 2014|3:52PM


    Finally got around to making this on our own and it was awesome. Get taste and memories of our wedding! We got a shoulder from Hunter Cattle with our starter pack and this recipe was the inspiration.

    Thanks for sharing,
    – Matthew and Lindsay

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