Puerto Rican Pork Shoulder

Pair with 2014 Syrah Grenache Mataro

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Serves: 4-8


  • One 5-8 lb pork shoulder, bone-in
  • 1 cup tart grapefruit juice or 1/2 cup each orange and lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup California olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, quartered
  • 8-10 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cilantro
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeds and center ribs removed
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons paprika (sweet or smoked spanish)
  • 5-8 teaspoons kosher salt (1 teaspoon per pound of pork)
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water

Rinse pork shoulder under cold water and then pat very dry. Place skin-side up in a large roasting pan, right on the pan (not on roasting rack). Use a knife to cut slits into the skin and fat.

Combine the orange juice, vinegar, olive oil, onion, garlic, cilantro, red bell pepper, cumin, oregano, paprika, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor and puree into a smooth paste. Use your hands to rub the pork shoulder with the paste on all sides, pouring into any crevices and into the slits cut in the skin. Use all of the marinade.

Cover pan with plastic wrap and let marinate a minimum of 2 hours and up to 2 days.

When ready to cook, remove from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature 30 minutes to take off some of the chill. Wipe off excess marinade from the skin of pork and pour water into bottom of pan so that it goes up about 2 inches on the side of the pork (leave the extra marinade in the pan).

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cover roasting pan tightly with foil or pan cover and place in oven on lowest rack to bake for 4 to 7 hours or until very tender. (Smaller roasts require less time, while larger roasts take more time. It’s very difficult to “overcook” as long as you keep the heat low, the roast covered, and the liquid in the pan–you can even go down to 300 degrees if you want to be safe.)

Once meat is tender, remove foil from pan and let broil about 5 to 10 minutes, or until skin is crisp and crackling. Transfer to a serving platter. Serve along with reduced pan juices, and a rice dish, mashed yuca, or plantains.

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