Submitted by Ligia Mendez Goodwillie
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?
Photos: Ligia Mendez Goodwillie