Red Chile Pulled Pork Tacos

Tacos de Chilorio
Even though chilorio was a once-little-known regional specialty from the northwestern state of Sinaloa, for the last several years, I’ve found pouches and cans of the stuff at the grocery store near my Mexico City apartment. Traditional chilorio—the stuff you find in the markets around Culiacan—is drier than the canned stuff, which more resembles American pulled pork. Market vendors shredded cooked pork and cooked it down in pork fat with red chile, salt and a little vinegar as a way to preserve it. Truthfully, that’s my favorite. The flavors are a little more concentrated and exciting. So that’s my approach here. The orange juice, by the way, while not very traditional, comes from a Sinaloan recipe I came across four decades ago. I love the way it underscores the natural sweetness of the pork. As is common in states that border the U.S., people enjoy these tacos with corn or flour tortillas.
Servings: 12tacos


  • 1 1/2pounds boneless pork shoulder (usually sold as a pork shoulder roast, though you may find it called Boston butt or pork for stew if it’s already cut up), trimmed of about half the noticeable fat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1cup fresh orange juice
  • 4 medium (2 ounces total) dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large pieces
  • 4garlic cloves garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1teaspoon oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
  • 1/2teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground
  • 1/4teaspoon cumin, preferably freshly ground
  • 2tablespoons vinegar (cider vinegar is common in Mexico)
  • Salt
  • 2tablespoons rich-tasting lard or vegetable oil
  • 12 warm corn or flour tortillas
  • About ¾ cup salsa (a bold one like Arbol Tomatillo Salsa is good here)
  • About ¾cup chopped white onion and cilantro


Make the seasoningIn a blender, combine the orange juice, ancho chile, garlic, oregano, black pepper, cumin, vinegar and 1½ teaspoons salt. Blend until smooth. 

Cook the pork.  Using a pressure cooker (like an Instant Pot): Pour the seasoning mixture through a medium-mesh strainer into the cooker, stir in the pork, lock the lid in place and cook on high for 30 minutes; let pressure naturally subside for 15 minutes, then release.  In a slow cooker:  Spread the pork pieces over the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker, then pour the chile mixture through a medium-mesh sieve over the meat; cover and cook on high for 4 hours, until the meat is fall-apart tender. On the stove top: Strain the seasoning through a medium-mesh sieve into a 4-quart saucepan, add ½ cup water, stir in the pork, partially cover and cook over medium to medium-low (there should just be a gentle simmer) until the meat is completely tender, about 1½ hours; add more water if the meat starts peeking out.  Let cool in the liquid if time allows.  

Finish the chilorio. Remove meat from the liquid. Use a fork or fingers to break the pork into coarse shreds. In a very large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high, heat the lard or oil.  When hot, add the pork in a single layer.  Cook until the meat is brown, stirring occasionally, 3 or 4 minutes. Add ½ cup of the cooking liquid (you may want to spoon off excess fat that has risen to the top) and cook, stirring regularly, until reduced nearly to a glaze.  Taste and season with salt, usually about a generous ½ teaspoon.  Serve with warm tortillas, salsa and the onion-cilantro mixture.  


Note:  if you end up with more than ½ cup of braising liquid, boil it over high heat until reduced to ½ cup.


    1. can’t seem to locate recipe for “crispy onions”, as recommended in above recipe for chilorio tacos..typed those 2 words where appropriate; received drop-down menus sans recipe for the “crispy onions” ? can you help?

      Thank you.

      1. Hey Jim! The crispy onions can be purchased at most grocery stores, we didn’t make these particular ones. They are the kind that gets put on top of a green bean casserole or any casserole that you wish. 🙂 Let me know if you have any other questions!

        1. thanks for info re: purchase at store…perused internet…found some killer recipes for home made onion crisps..so much better tasting than “store-bought”.
          On another item, Re: prepping chilies, I place them in pie tin then use propane torch to char them…..clean, fast and uniform charring…

  1. I always thought Chilorio was my grandmothers secret Pork meat invention. She always made it for special occasions . We loved it . We never got the recipe . She turns 94 this week . Now I will surprise her with my own Chilorio , Thanks to your recipe

    1. Hi Frank,
      Yes you can! I haven’t done this recipe in the pressure cooker so I can’t tell you an exact time but I would shoot for 45-60 minutes cook time. If the meat doesn’t come out tender, cook for another 30 minutes. Let us know how it turns out!

  2. This looks great! Rick mentioned that you can save most of the remaining sauce for tomorrow’s enchiladas. What kind of enchiladas did he have in mind for this kind of sauce? Is there a enchilada recipe on the website that you can suggest, where we could just swap out the left over sauce and it would work well? Thank for this recipe and all of the other wonderful recipes. I cook just about any ethnic food I can, but I cook more inspired from Mexico than any other region because of Rick.

  3. I have made an Layered Encilada casserole with the left over sauce! Sauce meat cheese 2-3 times finishing with the cheese in the oven til cheese is bubbling at about 350! 1/2 hour

  4. Sure one cup of orange juice was enough? I followed the recipe and didn’t have any juice left and all the meat was chard. It was perfectly cooked wouldn’t even think about trying to put it in the skillet

    1. Hi Jerry, each slow-cooker is a little different, so yours might have cooked a little bit hotter. Next time I would add a little more liquid. Good Luck!

  5. When I made this dish I had absolutely no sauce in the slow cooker when it was done cooking and my pork was starting to have burnt marinate on it. I slow cooked the meat for 4 hours on high and made the adobo exactly the way you told me to. Should I next time add a 1/2 or extra cup of orange juice? Any help would be much appreciated.

    1. Hi Jerry, I would add some water to the bottom of the slow cooker, about 3/4 of a cup. That should do the trick! 🙂

  6. No slow cooker here, kitchen is too small. Have a cast iron Dutch oven. Any chance of changing cooking to stovetop or oven?

    1. Hi Charley-Yes, you can cook this recipe in a Dutch oven (covered) in your oven, I would check your meat after 3 hours to see if you need more time.

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