Shredded Pork in Ancho-Orange Sauce (Chilorio) from 'Pati's Mexican Table'

[Photograph: Penny De Los Santos]

Carnitas make for one of the best taco fillings: slow braised pork, shredded and then crisped up before serving, is perfect unadorned in a warm corn tortilla. But what if you're looking to take it up a notch? In Pati's Mexican Table, Pati Jinich presents a different version of braised and shredded pork, this time fancied up with orange juice and a fragrant, tangy ancho chile sauce. With a generous pour of apple cider vinegar, the finished dish tastes almost like Mexican pulled porkā€”and I wouldn't consider that a bad thing.

Why I picked this recipe: Carnitas are one of my favorite taco and burrito fillings, so it was a no-brainer to try this chile and citrus-laced take on shredded pork.

What worked: Ancho chiles and oranges are a match made in heaven; tender pork shoulder makes it all the better.

What didn't: I needed more like an hour of simmering time on the pork to turn it tender, so I added about 1/3 cup more water and juice to the pot to keep things going. Don't clean out the pot once you've cooked the pork; the rendered fat and juices left behind will help flavor the sauce.

Suggested tweaks: Jinich offers the suggestion to prepare the sauce with braised chicken instead of pork, should you prefer poultry. Be sure to use bone-in, skin-on pieces (preferably dark meat) to keep things moist, tender, and flavorful.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Pati's Mexican Table to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, Berkeleyside NOSH, and blogs at

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