Pernil style roasted pork is a typical dish in Ecuador and many parts of Latin America. The pork is marinated in a sauce of bitter orange juice, onion, garlic, achiote, cloves, cinnamon, cumin and panela and slow roasted in the oven for several hours. The whole process for cooking pernil is close to hornado de chancho, however the marinade and spices are different. Pernil style pork adds clove and cinnamon which give the meat a very special flavor, also while the hornado meat should be very moist, the pernil meat is very dry, but both should be extremely tender. The roasted pork can be served as part of a meal, but many times is used to make sandwiches. Just like with hornado, a pork leg is usually used to make pernil, however a pork loin makes it easier to cut the roasted meat. Pork loin is also more readily available and is smaller than a pork leg (7 lbs vs. 20 lbs).
Another difference between hornado and pernil is that for pernil the skin and as much fat as possible should be removed from the meat, and while the hornado needs to be constantly kept moist by “bathing” it with beer or chicha while roasting. Both roasted pork dishes are delicious with very different flavors and textures. I recommend trying both (well, not making both at the same time) to taste the difference. Also, several Latin American countries have different versions of pernil, which are very different than Ecuadorian pernil. For example, what is known as “pernil” in Puerto Rico is much more similar to Ecuadorian hornado de chancho.
Recommended side dishes:
Step by step preparation photos for pernil roasted pork