Lig’s Dominican Pernil with Lemon, Oregano & Mojo

Lig pernil mojo

Holidays in our home always included this pernil with mojo or slow-roasted pork, sometimes cooked in a pressure cooker, sometimes on a spit, sometimes in the oven. But always, however we made it, the pernil was roasted low and slow, which Mom and my grandmother—Ligia, after whom I am named—swore yielded the most tender meat and best flavor. 

Bonus: the smell wafting through the house meant we were expecting company! For some reason, a roast always feels more special when you season it and let it rest overnight. This one is no exception: the simple lemon, garlic and oregano seasoning is the classic Dominican preparation and letting its flavors seep into the hunk of ham overnight in your fridge makes all the difference. 

Here’s one of my abuela’s cooking tip: Roast with the fat side up and you will have a delicious crispy exterior, which also keeps the interior of the roast juicy. 

Best of all, the mojo! Our family’s delicious mojo sauce adds just the right amount of green and spice to the hearty ham. You’ll find the recipe below.

Serve with authentic Dominican moros—rice and beans— traditional style or this healthied-up version, and a simple green salad. The perfect holiday buffet to serve a big crowd.  

Ready to Try Lig’s Holiday Dominican Pernil with Mojo?

Lig’s Dominican Pernil with Lemon, Oregano and Mojo

Recipe by Ligia Mendez Goodwillie
3.5 from 2 votes
Cuisine: Dominican


Prep time




Cooking time




  • 2 lbs bone-in pork shoulder or butt roast

  • 4 oz beer

  • Pernil Marinade Seasoning (per pound)
  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1/4 tsp oregano

  • 1 tsp lemon, freshly juiced

  • Mojo Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cup shallots, chopped

  • 1 cup vegetable oil

  • 1/2 cup scallion, chopped

  • 3 tsp salt

  • 1/2 cup vinegar

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 4 cubanelle peppers, chopped

  • 1 tsp tabasco sauce

  • 2 to 3 Tbsp pan juices from pernil roast


  • Prep the Pernil
  • The best pork cut for pernil is either a bone-in pork shoulder or butt roast (confusingly named since both cuts are from the shoulder area of a pig. The pork shoulder sits lower on the upper leg than the pork butt. We know!).
  • Do not remove the fat, as this will melt and deliciously moisturize the meat while cooking. You can feed 4 per pound of pernil, so calculate accordingly.
  • In a mortar mash garlic with salt and oregano then add lemon juice. Make small incisions in the meat with a short, sharp knife and rub the seasoning over the surface of the meat, wedging the seasoning in the incisions as you go.
  • Marinate overnight.
  • The next day, place seasoned meat in a Dutch oven pan or shallow roasting pan.
  • Add 4 oz beer to the base of the pan. Cook at 325 F for 30 minutes per pound.
  • Baste every 30 minutes while roasting. If using a meat thermometer, the roast should reach 170 degrees. If the top looks like it is burning, cover it with aluminum foil until desired temperature is reached.
  • Pull the pork out and let let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before carving, to let the juices and flavors marinate. Slice and serve accompanied by mojo gravy—the perfect pairing.
  • Mojo for the Pernil
  • Make the mojo while your pernil is roasting in the oven.
  • Mix the shallots and vinegar together in a bowl.
  • In a skillet, heat the oil and add the shallots. Cook on low heat for a minute or two.
  • Stir, then add the rest of ingredients.
  • Add 2 to 3 Tbsp of pan juices from the roasting pernil’s pan.
  • Mix well and simmer for a few more minutes, to let all the flavors marinate together.
  • Serve as gravy alongside your pernil, alongside moros and a vinegary green salad. Happy feasting!


  • For the beer in the roasting pan, Lig likes to use a Dominican pilsner like Presidente.
Pernil with mojo
pernil mojo

Photos: Ligia Mendez Goodwillie

Like This

More Delicioso Family Recipes & Articles We Think You’ll Like!

You May Also Like

Got a question or suggestion?

Please rate this recipe and leave any tips, substitutions, or Qs you have!

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *