Pernil Horneado Venezolano (Venezuelan Roasted Fresh Ham)

Well, after a few events that usually happen in our lives, I am finally back! 馃榾

After living in the US for almost 6 years, I miss the food I grew up with, a TON. Pernil Horneado is a dish a regular Venezuelan family will make for christmas eve or new year’s eve as part of the holiday’s meals.

Pernil Horneado is not a difficult dish but, it will need some time and checking on the Ham during cooking time. First than all, I want to apologized beforehand about the lack of pictures. It was my first pernil and I was kind of anxious to get the best results. I’ll try to explain the best I can so you can get it right the first time as I did 馃槈

you will need:

Fresh Ham (if it’s not the holiday season or easter here in the US, you will need to make an special order at the supermarket that may take one to two weeks. mine took a little over a week)

1 Cup chopped bacon

1-2 Tbsp cloves

Bay leaves

9-10 Tbsp salt

4 Tbsp black pepper

5 Tbsp dried oregano

2聽Cups sweet red wine

1 cup pitted prunes

1 cup pineapple juice (fresh is the best)

1 Big yellow onion

1 bunch of green onions (I have absolutely NO idea of how you call it in english. I just know the supermarket put it together with a rubber band)

1/2 cup of honey

1/2 peeled and cored pineapple.


Let the fun begin, 聽If your ham comes sealed like mine. you don’t have to worry about putting A LOT of salt so the pork will drain the extra blood (which happens in Venezuela and is an extra step you can skip) If your pork is soooo fresh that is dripping blood, well…you will need to add extra salt all over the piece of fresh ham to help drain it. When the excess blood is gone you can then proceed to the next step.


take a chef knife and make deep cuts all the way to the bone of the fresh ham in different parts of the pork (be super careful because the skin can be very hard sometimes and you will prefer all your fingers attached to you)



Usually the cuts are made on the entire piece of pork not only the top part. These cuts will absorbe the condiments so you will have a very tasty pernil. In a pot add bacon and cloves and cook a few minutes over medium heat until the bacon start losing some of the fat and you start getting the cloves smell a little bit more intense.




I like to cut my bacon while frozen with a very sharp knife (now that I just wrote that, it sounded very very dangerous) Be careful!

let the bacon and cloves mixture cool down so you can start putting it inside the cuts you made to the ham. after filling the cuts you will need to add salt, pepper and oregano evenly to the entire聽ham. then add some bay leaves and pour the orange juice and 1 cup of wine over the ham. cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate over night.


Note: life will be easier if you are not so lazy to go and find a better size container for that ham!

NEXT DAY: in a blender add, the rest of the wine (1 cup), prunes and pineapple juice. Pour the blended mixture on the ham cover with aluminum foil and put it inside the oven at 350 fahrenheit one hour for every kilo (because 2 lbs. is a聽little under聽a kilo you can try 1 hour per every 2 pounds or convert pounds to kilos to get a better timing on your pernil.) my pernil was a little over 14 pounds which is over 6 kilos. I just cooked it 6 hours and the result was awesome it wouldn’t hurt a little more time so, don’t worry about being too precise.


very important! every 45 minutes to an hour put some of the liquid on the ham while in the oven and cover again with the aluminum foil. you don’t want a dry tasteless pernil so please remember to do this over and over again until done.

then, 45 or 30 minutes聽before聽cooking time is up, remove the aluminum foil to toast the skin and get a darker color on your pernil.



Because of the cooking time the skin on top will roast until almost disappear and the one on the bottom will fall off. you don’t have to be worry about eating extra fat, just the essential 馃槈

If you notice in the last picture we started to eat the pernil before taking the picture. Philippe, my two-year-old boy, was the first and he loved it. so we just started digging (Literally) the pernil.

if you have enough liquid after taking the ham out of the oven, as we did, you can thicken it with a tablespoon of cornstarch disolved in 2 tablespoon room temperature water in a pot and cook over medium heat until you get the thicker consistency.

The most popular choice is to make the pernil sauce and that is why we haven’t use the other ingredients just yet.

Ok. for the sauce, add to a blender onion, green onions, honey and pineapple. in a saucepan heat the blended ingredients over medium heat until thick and serve over the pernil.

We liked both sauces so we had both 馃榾

If you have any questions I’ll be glad to help. I also want to thank my uncle Salim (Tio Nono) for his help in passing this recipe to me 馃槈

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