Friday, November 6, 2015

Caribbean Holiday Style Pork Roast [Sponsored]

Are you stuck in the "turkey for Thanksgiving and prime rib for Christmas" rut?

We got that way a few years back.  Both are great meals but sometimes you just have to break out and try something a little different.  I turned to the Caribbean for inspiration.  Cuba and Puerto Rico both have fantastic pork dishes such as lechon asado (roast suckling pig) and pernil (roasted pork shoulder).  

In his world traveling BBQ book, Planet Barbecue!, Steven Raichlen sings the praises of these prized holiday roasts, "Spit roasting crisps the skin the way deep-frying would, and if you cut the skin with a sharp knife right away, you'll get perfect diamonds of one of the glories of Puerto Rican gastronomy: chicharrones, crackling crisp pork rind (197)."

Hmmm, deep-frying you say?  Maybe I could do a pork roast like a deep fried turkey?  I know - deep frying like that would be messy, waste about $30 of oil, and you don't want to burn your house down.  But I had an easier trick up my sleeve - the Char-Broil™ Big Easy Turkey Fryer.  Instead of using oil, it uses infrared heat to provide deep fried results without the mess, expense, and potential grease fires.

So our Thanksgiving Menu this year is:

Carribean Holiday Style Pork Roast 
Chile Rubbed Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Black Beans and Rice with Pickled Red Onions

There are lots of different ways to make Caribbean style pork roasts and everyone swears theirs is the "only authentic way to make it because it's how my Cuban/Puerto Rican grandmother did it".  Some involve stabbing the roast and inserting garlic slivers.  Some use a wet paste, some use a long marinade.  I borrowed a little from all of the styles and came up with this easy version.

The roast was amazing with the juicy pork but Raichlen was right - the pork cracklin's made it incredible!  In order to get that crispy pork candy, you have to get a skin on "pork picnic shoulder", not a whole shoulder or pork butt.  I trim my own but to keep things easy, ask your butcher to trim the skin flap back, but leave it attached at the shank (see pictures below).

Caribbean Holiday Style Roast Pork Shoulder


  • 8 lb pork picnic shoulder
  • 1-2 tablespoons black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons adobo seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
For the paste
  • 1/4 cup sour orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled


  1. Make the paste.  Place the paste ingredients in a blender, food processor, or one of those magic ninja bullet things and blend together.  
  2. Season the roast.  Pull the skin flap back and season the exposed roast all over with the black pepper and adobo seasoning.  Smear the paste all over the exposed roast.  Pull the skin flap back over the roast and secure with kitchen twine.  Season the skin with the salt.  Place roast in a food bag or wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.  
  3. Remove the roast and allow to sit at room temperature for one hour.  Meanwhile, preheat your Big Easy Oil-less Turkey Fryer with the power dial on about two-thirds of the way.
  4. Place the roast in the basket and insert the basket into the fryer.  Roast until the thicker end of the shoulder reaches an internal temperature of 180°f - about 3 1/2 to 4 hours.  
  5. You can either serve after a 15 minute rest or put it in an empty cooler, cover with foil, a towel and let it rest in the closed cooler for 1 to 3 hours (this makes it easy to hit your scheduled dinner time). 

  • Sour orange juice aka Seville orange juice - Mix 2 parts orange juice with 1 part lime juice.
  • Adobo seasoning - I buy Baida brand in the Latino section of the grocery story but there are several good recipes online if you choose to make your own.
lechon asado, caribbean style pork roast, Char-Broil Big Easy
Simple yet big, bold flavors make this roast special.
pork picnic, pork butcher
Here is how I trimmed the skin flap.  Just start at the "big" end by making small slices between the fat/skin and the meat, opening the top flap as you go.  Stop when you get back to the shank end.  Again, your butcher should do this for you free of charge.

holiday pork roast
Here the skin flap is folded back towards where the leg shank comes out.

lechon asado, pork pernil
Here the roast is all tied back together.
You might notice that is an awfully big roast.  I was pushing it here because the Big Easy Turkey Deep Fryer says it can handle up to a 16 lb turkey or an 8 lb roast.  This bad boy weighed in at 12.2 pounds and the Big Easy still nailed it!  It ended up taking 6 hours to cook but it was 50% bigger than it should have been so that is to be expected.  I was really impressed with how the Big Easy handled this roast, even better than the turkey I did last year.

turkey deep fryer
The Big Easy is a simple device and has a small footprint but produces big results. 

Looking down into the into the Big Easy, the stainless drum heats evenly from all directions.

The drip pan lets you capture the drippings in case you want to make a sauce or gravy.  Try doing that with a typical deep fryer.

The sturdy, silicone handles make it easy to move the unit, even when it's hot.

The controls are simple.  One dial to light the Big easy and one to control the temperature.

lechon asado, pork pernil, pork roast Big Easy
Here you really get an idea of how huge this roast was.

pork pernil, pork Big Easy, Char-Broil
A shot of the skin or cracklin's side of the roast.  The infrared heat really delivered the deep fried crispy skin!

pork pernil
Here is the non-skin side when done.  It is dark but when you smoke this same cut of pork for pulled pork, it is darker, almost black.  A lot of flavor here!

gas grill, indirect heat on gas grill,
While the roast was going, I roasted chile rubbed sweet potatoes on my Char-Broil Commercial grill.  Indirect set up, controlling the temperature with the far left burner.

grilled vegetables
These were spicy, sweet, and a delight.  I'm going to have to do a post on these babies alone.  Short version is salt, pepper, Ancho chile, garlic, and chili powder, roast at 375 for 40 minutes.

I loved everything on my plate, this is definitely going to be our Thanksgiving menu.

The Big Easy gave me exactly what I wanted with this Caribbean style pork roast.  The infrared cooking made it crispy on the crust but juicy and tender on the inside.  Learn more about the Big Easy turkey deep fryer.

My blogger pal, Kita (aka Girl Carnivore), has set up a giveaway of a Big Easy Turkey Fryer. Enter via the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
[Standard Disclaimer]  This post is sponsored by Char-Broil™ and the Big Easy Turkey Fryer, but I wouldn't post about it if I really didn't enjoy using it.