Colombian-Style Pernil (Roasted Ham or Pork Shoulder)

Cuisine: Colombian
Servings: 8-10 servings
This recipe for pernil, or roasted pork shoulder, is extra yummy and juicy because of the beer marinade. It gives the meat a very unique flavor.

In Colombia, many people have the tradition of buying a whole pig at the butcher store and using it to make different types of food to celebrate the holidays. They make tamales with pork meat, lechona (roasted pig), pork tenderloin, sausages, blood sausage, fried pork belly, beans with pig’s feet, and of course, this pernil (roasted pork shoulder) or ham with lots of Colombian flavor.

To be honest, I usually don’t use a raw ham for this recipe. (What?!) That’s right. I think it’s way too much meat for my small family and that’s why I do what most Puerto Ricans do with their version of pernil and use pork shoulder instead. It’s not the exact same cut of meat, but the truth is, it comes out tasting the same.

I personally have tasted different pernil recipes and they’re all delicious, but I always end up loving this one more because the beer (which, by the way, we use a lot to marinade meat in Colombia) gives it a very unique flavor.


  • 1 6-7 pound pork shoulder bone-in skin-on, and uncooked (you can also use ham)
  • For the Marinade
  • 1 bottle beer 16 ounces
  • 1 medium white onion chopped into big pieces
  • 4 stalks green onion chopped into big pieces
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon oregano dried
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 3 teaspoons cumin ground
  • teaspoons food seasoning Sazón Goya, Triguisar or homemade
  • salt to taste (the rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon per pound of meat)
  • pepper to taste (the rule of thumb is 1/2 teaspoon per pound of meat)

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  1. Blend all the ingredients of the marinade in a food processor or blender.
  2. Place your pork in a big glass or plastic bowl. Then, with a sharp knife, make incisions all over the meat. Add the marinade in the incisions that you made to make sure the meat is well seasoned from the inside out. Then pour the rest of the marinade all over the pork, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 days. Make sure to turn the meat over every 8 hours.
  3. Preheat your oven to 325ºF.
  4. Take the pork out of the refrigerator and let it rest on the counter for about 30 minutes. Then, place it in a roasting pan with the marinade. Cover it with aluminum foil and place it on the lower rack of your oven. Roast for 4-7 hours or until the internal temperature reads 160ºF. Baste the pork with the juices that are in the pan to make sure the meat doesn’t get dry. The juices will eventually dry up as well; in that case, you can add ¼-½ cup of water to make sure your pork doesn’t get burned.
  5. Remove the aluminum foil during the last hour of roasting so it can turn golden brown on top. Take the pork out of the oven once it’s done and let it rest for 30 minutes before serving.

Chef Notes

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