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Cactus Recipes at Made in Hawaii


Visit the Made in Hawaii Festival this year, and be sure to see John Memering, of Cactus, cook the following dish during a live cooking demonstration.

Chef John Memering

Slow Roasted Shinsato Farms Pork Shoulder "Pernil" and Maui Pineapple Sofrito

Serves 6-8

Pernil Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup fresh
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 teaspoon Cumin seed, toasted and ground
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 (8 to 9 pound) pork shoulder, skin intact
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups Hawaiian sour orange juice, or 1 1/3 cups orange juice and 2/3 cup lime juice
  • Maui Pineapple Sofrito (recipe follows)


1. In a food processor, place the oregano, thyme, garlic and black peppercorns. Process the ingredients into a paste.
2. Once a smooth paste is formed, add the olive oil little by little to the food processor and set aside.
3. Rinse the pork shoulder under cold running water and pat dry.
4. Use a sharp paring knife to score the skin about 1/4-inch deep in a cross hatch pattern all over the thick skin of the pork roast.
5. Season with 2 tablespoons of the kosher salt and rub well. Rub the entire roast well all over on all sides with the herb paste.
6. Place the pork in a plastic oven bag and add 1 cup of the sour orange juice over it. Seal the bag and force out as much air as possible, then place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours, and up to 24 hours. Be sure to turn the bag over once or twice to redistribute the sour orange juice.
7. The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Be sure to pull out the pork at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours before roasting.
8. Place the pork in a roasting pan and season with the remaining 2 tablespoons of kosher salt.
9. Wrap the roasting pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Roast the pork for 1 hour before turning the oven down to 275 degrees F.
10. Continue to roast the pork for 2 more hours.
11. Remove the foil and baste the roast with the remaining cup of sour orange juice.
12. Roast for 1 additional hour and remove from the oven.
13. Allow to rest 10- 20 minutes before slicing

For the Sofrito:

  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 medium yellow wax pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 Hawaiian or Thai chili pepper, stem removed
  • 1 cup sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • 8 medium cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 cups ripe pineapple peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, chopped (Chinese parsley)
  • 1/2 cup Recao, chopped *See note
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


1. In a food processor, combine all the peppers, onion, garlic and pineapple.
2. Pulse mixture until rough chopped, add remaining ingredients and process until the consistency is that of a semi-chunky salsa. Will keep refrigerated for up to one week or freeze remainder for later use.
3. Serve with a rustic charro tomato rice and traditional black beans

*Recao can be found in Asian markets; it is also called saw tooth cilantro.

Traditional Puerto Rican Sofrito is the base of many dishes. This Sofrito goes well with chicken, grilled fish and makes an excellent addition to beans or rice.


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Honolulu Magazine March 2018
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