I've been making big batches of this Easy Pork in Adobo Sauce over the past month!
When you build the Adobo Sauce from scratch you can really load it up with flavor and it makes for some delicious, all-purpose shredded pork.
You can use the tasty pork for tacos, burritos, tostadas, but for me lately it's crispy, fiery tortas 🙂
How to Make Pork in Adobo Sauce
When you coat the pork with Adobo Sauce it is absolutely loaded with flavor -- and it's designed to be much quicker than a typical low-n-slow pork recipe.
Pork shoulder typically prefers a long cook at low temperatures. That's what I do in the Awesome Carnitas recipe and it's a great option to keep in mind when you have more time on your hands.
But this version is designed for days when you don't want to spend an afternoon in the kitchen. A quick hour-long simmer for the pork will do the job just fine knowing there's a batch of Adobo Sauce waiting in the wings.
I started with 2 lbs. pork shoulder for this batch, chopped it up into chunks, then covered with cold water.
Add salt along with anything else you want to include for the simmer. I used 1/2 onion for this batch.
Bring it to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 60 minutes or so. (I use low on my stove to simmer when covered.)
As the pork cooks you can build the Adobo Sauce.
Adobo Sauce is a concentrated chile-garlic mixture that works great in a number of dishes. You can use it as a marinade or coating for meats, or you can liquefy it to make a sauce.
The core of the flavor comes from dried chiles. I'm using 5 Anchos and 3 Guajillos for this batch, but there is leeway on the dried chiles so don't sweat it if you don't have Guajillos.
After de-stemming and de-seeding I usually roast the chile pieces for 1-2 minutes in the oven (400F).
This blast of heat wakes them up and really brings out some extra flavor so please don't skip this step! Alternatively, you can flash roast them in a skillet over medium-high heat for 15-30 seconds. How To Roast Dried Chiles.
Once the chiles are roasted, add them to a bowl and cover with the hottest tap water you've got. This will re-hydrate them and help their flavor infuse into the sauce once we grind 'em up.
As the chiles reconstitute you can gather the other ingredients and add them to a blender:
4 peeled garlic cloves
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano What is Mexican oregano?
1/4 teaspoon cumin (optional)
2 chipotles in adobo (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons water, or stock
You can consider the chipotles optional. They add plenty of heat, but if you want a milder batch you can just use the Anchos and Guajillos. Tips on working with chipotles.
The pork needs about an hour to cook, so I usually start to finish up the Adobo Sauce around then.
Drain the reconstituted chiles and add them to the blender. Note: if you like the flavor of the chiles' soaking liquid you can save some of it to build the adobo sauce. I think it tastes bitter so I don't use it.
Combine well. You'll probably need to add additional splashes of liquid to get the Adobo Sauce to combine. You can use splashes of water, or the chiles' soaking liquid, or the pork boiling liquid (along with some fat!).
I usually add just enough liquid to get it to combine into a thick, paste-like substance.
Cook this Adobo Sauce in some oil (or lard!) over medium-high heat for a few minutes, stirring regularly.
Add 1/2 cup liquid to thin it out (I used the pork boiling liquid) and bring it up to temp. I usually give it a taste at this point. I added another pinch of salt and Mexican oregano to this batch.
Remove the pork from the simmering pot and shred it using two forks.
Add the shredded pork to the Adobo mixture.
Combine well, bring it up to temp, and take a final taste.
Hello flavorbomb shredded pork!
Sure, you can eat it straight from the pan 🙂
But it can be used in so many other tasty ways. Here are my defaults:
Tortas! Pickled onions, Habanero slices, cheese, lime mayo...all on a crispy roll with your awesome pork mixture. I usually smoosh these panini-style in a skillet over medium heat, using a skillet or pyrex dish to press down on them. So good!
Tacos! Add cheese and the pork mixture to a corn tortilla in a skillet over medium heat. Fold onto itself, smoosh with a spatula and cook until brown spots are forming on the tortilla and the cheese is melted. A quick batch of Salsa de Aguacate is the perfect complement to these tacos.
Burritos! White rice, cheese, pork, and freshly chopped Pico de Gallo in a flour tortilla and crisped up in a dry skillet over medium heat. Easy and fast.
Tostadas! Add a thin layer of refried beans to a tostada and load it with pork, Queso Fresco, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. Yum 🙂
Okay, I hope this Easy Pork in Adobo Sauce brings lots of good meals to your home kitchen! It's such an easy technique and I think you'll get lots of mileage out of it.
Easy Pork with Adobo Sauce
- 2 lbs. pork shoulder
- 5 Ancho dried chiles
- 2-3 Guajillo dried chiles (or New Mexican)
- 2 chipotles in adobo (optional)
- 4 peeled garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vinegar (I used white vinegar)
- 2 tablespoons stock, or water
- olive oil
- Chop up the pork shoulder into 1-2" chunks. Add it to a saucepan and cover with cold water. Add salt and any other aromatics you'd like to use (I used 1/2 onion for this batch). Bring it up to a boil, skim off and discard any foam, then lower heat to simmer, cover, and let cook for an hour or so. Note: I use low on my stove to simmer when covered.
- For the Adobo Sauce, start by wiping off any dusty crevasses on the dried chiles, then de-stem and de-seed them. Roast the chiles pieces in the oven (400F) for 1-2 minutes. Alternatively, you can flash roast them on a skillet over medium-high heat for 15-30 seconds per side.
- Add the roasted chile pieces to a mixing bowl and cover them with the hottest tap water you've got. Let the chiles reconstitute for a half hour or until you need them. If they float to the surface you can use a small bowl or plate to keep them submerged.
- The pork will be ready after cooking for an hour -- when it's close I start to build the Adobo Sauce. Drain the chiles and add them to a blender along with the remaining Adobo Sauce ingredients: 2 chipotles in adobo (optional), 4 peeled garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano, 1/4 teaspoon cumin (optional), 1/2 teaspoon salt, freshly cracked black pepper, 2 tablespoons white vinegar, 2 tablespoons stock or water (or the pork boiling liquid). Combine well. You may need to add additional splashes of liquid to get it to combine -- I added another few tablespoons of the pork boiling liquid until it combined into a thick, paste-like substance.
- Preheat a glug of oil (or lard) in a skillet over medium heat. Add the adobo sauce and cook for a few minutes, stirring regularly. Add 1/2 cup liquid and combine well -- you can use stock, water, or the pork boiling liquid.
- Shred the cooked pork using two forks and add it to the adobo mixture. Combine well and bring it up to temp. Feel free to add splashes of liquid if you think it needs it to combine. Salt to taste.
- Serve pork mixture immediately. Store leftovers in the fridge where it will keep for a few days.
Want to see the latest recipe? It's this Hatch Chicken Chile Verde.