Puerto Rican Pork Roast is covered in cilantro sofrito and slow roasted until tender and shredded with a crispy skin.
Served in a corn tortilla with pickled red onions and avocado the mix of crispy and shredded pork is perfection.
A make ahead meal for a crowd
To give your sofrito slather time to really flavor your meat, you have to plan ahead with this one.
Make the sofrito one day and marinate your meat overnight, then slowly cook the roast over about 7 hours the next day. It’s not a difficult 7 hours of cooking, most is inactive oven time, but it does take some patience.
- Cilantro sofrito – a flavor-packed paste of onions, garlic, cilantro, spices and olive oil. A great alternative to typical wet marinades sealing in flavor and moisture during long slow roasts.
- 1 bone in, skin on pork picnic shoulder roast –
- zest and juice from 3 limes
How to make
- Make sofrito – pulse onion, garlic, cilantro, salt, black pepper, oregano, and cumin in food processor or chop by hand. Stir in olive oil.
- Marinate – pat pork dry with paper towels then cover with cilantro sofrito. Place in large (2 gallon) freezer bag and refrigerate at least 12 hours, up to 24.
- Steam – an initial steam ensures that the layer of skin transforms from collagen to gelatine so it can be properly crisped later.Place marinated pork roast skin side down in a large roasting pan, pour water to reach halfway up the roast. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 90 minutes in preheated 450 degree oven.
- Braise – after steaming for 1 ½ hours, remove foil and reduce oven to 375 degrees. Braise, uncovered in liquid, for 2 ½ hours longer.
- Roast – remove pan from oven and gently transfer the roast from the pan to a non stick v-rack, placing it skin side up. Place v rack back into the liquid in pan and pat skin dry with paper towels. Return to oven and roast for 1 more hour at 375 degrees, checking frequently and adding water as needed to prevent it from drying out and burning the pan.
- Crisp – after an hour transfer the v rack to a foil lined baking sheet and increase temperature to 500 degrees. Cook until the skin is super crispy, about 15 to 20 minutes longer.
- Rest and season– transfer to a cutting board and let rest at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pour pan juices into a measuring bowl and add water if necessary to make 1 cup. Whisk remaining ½ cup cilantro, lime zest and ⅓ cup lime juice into juices to make a wet seasoning. Remove crispy skin from pork and coarsely chop into bite sized pieces. Add to a large bowl and pour ⅔ of cilantro lime juices on top. Toss to coat.
- Serve – with crispy skin, additional cilantro lime juices, quick pickled red onions, lime, avocado, and corn tortillas or rice.
- 7 pounds pork picnic shoulder roast bone-in
- 1 ½ cups fresh cilantro leaves and stems, chopped
- 2 medium onions roughly chopped
- ¼ cup salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 12 medium garlic cloves peeled
- 2 tablespoons black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon lime zest grated
- ⅓ cup lime juice
- Prepare cilantro sofrito by placing peeled garlic and rough chopped onion with 1 cup cilantro, salt, oil, pepper, oregano, and cumin in food processor. Pulse until finely ground then stir in olive oil.
- Pat pork dry with paper towels, rub sofrito all over and place in large (2 gallon) freezer bag or cover with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate at least 12 hours and up to 24.
- Heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Place marinated pork roast skin side down in a large roasting pan and pour water in until it reaches halfway up the roast.
- Cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 90 minutes.
- Remove foil, reduce oven to 375 degrees and continue to roast for 2 ½ hours.
- Remove pan from oven and gently transfer the roast from the pan to a non stick v rack, skin side up.
- Pat skin dry and return to oven for 1 more hour. Check the pan frequently and add additional water to ensure that the bottom of doesn’t dry out.
- Transfer the v rack with the roast to a foil lined baking sheet and increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. Cook until the skin is crispy, 15 to 30 minutes.
- Transfer to a cutting board to rest at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pour pan juices into a measuring bowl and add water if necessary to make 1 cup.
- Whisk remaining ½ cup cilantro, lime zest and ⅓ cup lime juice into juices.
- Remove crispy skin from pork and coarsely chop into bite sized pieces. Remove pork from bone and also chop. Add to a large bowl and pour ⅔ of cilantro lime juices on top. Toss to coat.
- Serve with crispy skin on the side. Accompanied by additional cilantro lime juices, quick pickled red onions, limes, avocado and either warm corn tortillas or rice.
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I have Puerto Rican in-laws that have made this their own way that I wanted to replicate at home but lost the recipe they gave me. I found this and think that it’s even better! Husband has had me make this 2 more times within a month. One thing I wanted to clarify, when you say ‘skin side’, I’m assuming this is the opposite of ‘fat side’? So with the pork butt, the side with the layer of fat is the fat side and the other side is the skin side?
Thanks so much for your comment, Lisa! I lOVE that it gets the whole family’s approval 🙂 Also, thank you for your question about which side is the skin side on pork roasts. There are typically two types of shoulder roasts – butt roasts and picnic roasts. The picnic roasts are cut from the smaller end of the shoulder and typically sold bone-in, skin-on. While the butt roasts are cut from the larger, more marbled side of the shoulder and typically sold boneless, skinless. Ideally, bone-in, skin-on picnic roasts should be used in this recipe, but skinless roasts can be substitute and in that case the ‘skin side’ would then be referring to the ‘fat side’ instead. I hope this helps. Thanks again!