Pernil a la Parrilla with Mango Salsa

Recipe and photos contributed to Hispanic Kitchen by Carolyn Swaney

There’s nothing like serving a dinner that’s equally as esthetically impressive as it is impressive to taste.

Adobo pork tenderloin, the grill-friendly version of Pernil al Horno is just that. Street-side stands in Puerto Rico boast the most delicious spit-roasted whole pigs. A large pig is certainly not conducive to cooking in my own kitchen, but it is amazing. Pernil is the homemade off shoot from that, however this version here is easy enough for a regular weeknight dinner, but versatile enough to hold its own at your next dinner party. Pork tenderloin is a staple at our house for nights when we need low-maintenance, easy clean up dinners. Except for a few cutting boards and the dish to marinate the pork, this recipe fits the bill.


The tenderloin marinates for an hour or so, creating tender and flavorful meat, thanks to the adobo—Adobo simply refers to the garlic and spice marinade that is used. Adobos (translation: sauce, seasoning, marinade) often use vinegar or citrus to break down the fibers in the meat, and in this case, the lime juice lends a Carribean vibe, not to be outdone by the oh-so-beachy mango salsa.


Pernil a la Parrilla

Serves 4


2 lbs pork tenderloin

fresh lime juice (from 8 limes)

6 cloves garlic, cracked

1 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons oregano

1 teaspoon cumin

1 ½ teaspoons salt

olive oil

1. Combine all ingredients except pork and olive oil in a shallow dish or zip-top bag. Blend with a fork and add tenderloins. Place in the fridge to marinate for one hour or more, turning to coat as necessary.
2. Preheat grill and remove pork from the refrigerator. Discard marinade and place pork on the grill.
3. Grill for about 9 minutes on each side, turning once at a 90 degree angle to make cross hatch marks on the pork. Insert a meat thermometer, to ensure that pork is at 160 degrees.
4. Let rest for 10-15 minutes, then slice and serve.


Mango Salsa

1 mango diced

½ red bell pepper diced

½ small red onion diced

½-1 jalapeño minced (seed and remove ribs for less heat)

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 squeeze lime juice

salt to taste

1. Combine mango through cilantro in a small bowl. Stir and add lime and salt.
2. Refrigerate salsa for 1 hour for flavors to marry.
3. Serve with grilled fish, meat or chips.


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