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La cocina Boricua: El Pavochon

by AJ Rodriguez

Let’s face it: Thanksgiving Day is no longer a day for giving thanks. Hardly anyone says grace or thanks to the Lord for what they are about to eat. It’s all about getting stuffed, eating till you pop out a button on your shirt/blouse, and making left over sandwiches for a few days; at least in my house.

This is why I bring to you a variation on the dreary, buttery and at times dry turkey: El Pavochon. It’s a play on the words pavo and lechon, which means turkey and roasted pig.

It’s taken me a while to perfect, but I think it’s now ready for primetime.


1 12-15 lbs thawed turkey

1 garlic bulb, crushed

3 pkts of Sazón Goya con Azafran

3 tablespoons of onion powder

2 cube of my sofrito (link to sofrito recipe)

1 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

1/2 c of extra virgin olive oil (reserve another 1/4 c of oil if paste is too thick)

4 large russet potatoes

3 carrots, peeled

1 large white onion

1/2 stick of butter


1 large, deep baking pan

1 turkey baster


After the turkey has thawed on the bottom shelf of refrigerator, remove gizzards and commence mixing together the dry ingredients, oil, garlic and sofrito until it makes a paste. Rub paste on outside and inside of turkey. Carefully lift the breast/thigh/leg skin and rub the paste under the skin. After turkey has been covered with ingredients, place in a baking bag, and let marinate for 2 days in the refrigerator.

On cooking day cut potatoes and white onion into fourths. Cut carrots into equal sections and reserve to the side. Butter baking pan, and remove turkey from bag and place in centre of pan. Use cut vegetables and place around turkey. You may stuff turkey with dressing or use mofongo as a special side dish.

In a preheated oven, cook turkey at 350 for 4 hours, basting turkey constantly to avoid a dry meat.

After cooking time has elapsed, serve with cooked vegetables and mofongo and your choice of additional side dishes. Enjoy.

As always, this is my variation and hopefully one that you will enjoy and improve on. Let me know how it turns out.

Buen apetito.


AJTo learn more about (blogger name),
visit The AJay Rodriguez


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


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About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. I made my first pavochón last Thanksgiving; the stuffing was my suegra’s recipe. It was so delicious we wished we had picked a bigger bird! I can’t wait to make it again this year.

  2. k. Cedano says:

    I love the holidays!! I get to do all the cooking for my family =D

    Finger lickin’ everytime!! :)

  3. Esther says:

    Your turkey sounds yummy yet your starting paragraph was very disappointing. Being hispanic, our culture may not have had this wonderful tradition of giving thanks and sharing our thanks with a wonderful turkey dinner since the beginning. Yet as hispanics we have embraced it and have made it also our own. We, as hispanics, are VERY thankful people and not people who easily forget. We have always taken that time to give thanks to God and for what he has given us which MANY of our fellow hispanics don’t have. I try to go back to my parents’ country (my roots) whenever I can to distribute clothing and/or food just to remind myself how blessed my family and I am. Maybe that is what you should do so you can one day modify that starting paragraph. You have sir, have had too much of a good thing and have not really truly valued what you have been given my this country and by God.

  4. This sounds good, but I do not see the lechón part, I thought you were actually stuffing or covering the turkey with pork. Is it just the condiments that gives it the lechón taste?

  5. k. Cedano says:

    I agree.

  6. Eileen Rivera-de la Hoz says:

    I actually serve turkey and lechon for Thanksgiving and both are marinated the same exact way.
    As far as giving thanks, my family starts in a circle and each person gives their thanks for whatever is going on in their life. Then we join hands and pray together.

  7. nycgirl77 says:

    Sounds like a great recipe however I want to say that you should give thanks everyday for the blessings we have in life not only on thanksgiving day. I’m not a overly religious person but we say a short prayer before we have our thanksgiving meal to thank the lord for our meal and blessings and we shouldn’t take anything we have for granted. The turkey will still be there when you’ve finished your prayer.

  8. thank you, AJ! i’ll give it a try + let you know :)

  9. boricua says:

    I dont understand how can u post a recepe about pavochon and leave the main ingredient out? OREGANO with uot oregano is not pavochon God BLESS

  10. Esa es tu version de pavochon. Mi version es la receta del lechon y no tengo conocimiento que el pernil se haga con papas Para el “pavochon” uso ajo, sal, pimienta, oregano, achiote (o sazon con culantro achiote), aceite de oliva y jugo de limon o vinagre. Se crea una pasta con estos ingreadientes y se le “unta” a todo el pavo y dentro de la cavidad tambien y se levanta la piel o el cuero de la pechuga y se “soba” bien la pechuga con la pasta. Se pone en el refrigerador al menos 24 horas con la pechuga hacia abajo para que absorba bien el adobo. Se pone en el horno a 350 F, y se concina de acuerdo al peso con la pechuga hacia bajo para que absorba los jugos que suelta. Una hora antes de sacarlo se voltea para que la pechuga dore, y ese pavo queda jugoso, lleno de dabor y delicioso. Como dijo el companero el ano pasado, un pavo sin oregano no es pavochon.

  11. Ah…, y se me olvido…dar gracias a Dios en todo momento por todas Sus bendiciones y misericordia no se debe olvidar, debe de ser la motivacion que nos une a estar reunidos en familia y con amigos, para alabar, bendecir, glorificar a nuestro Padre Celestial por ser bueno con nosotros. Todo sabe mejor cuando tenemos a Cristo como nuestro invitado especial. Gracias Padre por tu tus misericordias, gracias por el sacrificio de tu Hijo en la cruz y gracias por tus promesas de vida eterna para los que proclamamos a Jesus como nuestro Salvador. Feliz Dia de Accion de Gracias!

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