Pernil, a Dominican staple at family gatherings. In English it’s called pulled pork. No matter what you call it, it is absolutely delicious!
Traditionally, we cook our pernil for hours and hours. Depending on the weight, up to 6 hours. We start with seasoning, boiling, then cooking in the oven covered, then uncovered, shred and cook longer to get more of that golden look. The process is long and tedious.
This is why I really wanted to try it in the instant pot. I wondered how I could cook it faster but still get that beautiful golden color and keep the flavor intact. Now, I must say that because it is cooking quickly and in liquid the whole time, I went a little heavier on the seasoning.
When I was done cooking it, I was floored about how good it was. A lot more tender than if I had cooked it the traditional way. So in shredding, it was like butter, that tender. I also placed the skin on the top of all the meat in the Instant pot. Instead of doing the oven step with the skin pieces, I placed them in the air fryer and cooked at 400° degrees for about 20 minutes. And the skin pieces do shrink quite a bit but they are so good that the extra step is so worth it. In the video below, you’ll be able to see how I did it all.
How do I serve this pulled pork?
I love to have pernil with white rice and beans the day I make it. Then I take the leftovers and use them in empanadas, sliders, toasts, spring rolls, tacos, and much more. Technically, the world is your oyster with this recipe.
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Instant Pot Dominican Pernil (Pulled Pork)
Seasoning ingredients for the pork butt/shoulder
- 5 lbs pulled pork butt/shoulder cut in large chunks I had bone in that was 7lbs. After cutting it up, it was about 5 lbs
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 3 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp ground oregano
- 3 tbsp adobo
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 3 tsp minced garlic
Ingredients for cooking the pork butt/shoulder in the Instant pot
- 2 tbsp corn oil
- remainder of the seasoning liquid
- add water to the seasoning liquid to make 1 cup
- Cut the pork butt/shoulder into large chunks. The skin, I cut into thinner pieces because I was going to fry them at the end in the air fryer.
- Season the pork with the seasoning ingredients above.
- Mix well. Make sure all of the pieces are fully coated.
- Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours but overnight is preferred.
Cook the Pork
- Add oil to the instant pot.
- Press the "Saute" function. I like to cover the instant pot slightly for the oil to heat up faster.
- Once oil is hot, add a layer of the pork chunks and brown for about 30 seconds on each side. This will seal the flavor into the pork. Set aside and continue in batches with the other pieces.
- Once all the pieces are sauteed, take the leftover seasoning liquid and add water to fill to 1 cup.
- Add the seasoning mixture into the instant pot and stir. While you stir, bring up the bits that are stuck at the bottom of the pot.
- Add the pork back in. This time, you can overlap them. If you are airfrying the skin, place it at the top of the pack.
- Set instant pot on meat for 90 minutes. This will take a few minutes to get to temperature.
- Make sure the valve is closed.
- Once the cooking is done, allow a natural pressure release. Once the countdown is done, push the valve open and carefully open the instant pot.
- Place the pork on a large baking dish and shred. The pork should be quite moist so you do not need the liquid in the instant pot.
- Place the pulled pork in the oven at 450° degrees. Cook for about 5 minutes or until it has reached slight golden highlights. If you leave it in too long, it will dry out.
- Remove from oven and enjoy with your desired sides or incorporated into tacos, burritos, empanadas and more.