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

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 pork—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.

Reprinted with permission from Pati's Mexican Table: The secrets of real Mexican home cooking by Pati Jinich. Copyright 2013. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.

Recipe Details

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

Active 25 mins
Total 80 mins
Serves 8 servings


  • 3 pounds boneless pork butt (shoulder) or loin, preferably with some fat, cut into 2-inch chunks

  • 1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed orange juice

  • 1 1/4 cups water

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt, or more to taste

  • 4 ancho chiles (2 ounces), rinsed, stemmed, and seeded

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped white onion

  • 4 garlic cloves

  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 16 flour tortillas, warmed


  1. Place the pork in a heavy 12-inch skillet or Dutch oven. Add the orange juice, water, and 1 teaspoon of the salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes, or until most of the liquid has cooked away and the meat is lightly browned and has rendered most of its fat. Set aside to cool.

  2. Meanwhile, place the chiles in a bowl, cover with hot water, and soak for 10 to 15 minutes, until softened.

  3. Place the chiles, along with 1 1/2 cups of their soaking liquid, in a blender or food processor, along with the onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, cumin, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and vinegar and puree until completely smooth.

  4. When it is cool enough to handle, shred the pork with your hands or two forks and place it and any juices in a large bowl.

  5. In the pot in which the meat was cooked, heat the oil over medium heat. Pour in the chile puree, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until thickened and darkened. Toss in the shredded meat and juices and cook until the meat has absorbed most of the chile sauce, 20 to 25 minutes. Taste for salt.

  6. Serve the meat rolled up in the warm flour tortillas or with the tortillas on the side.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
721 Calories
34g Fat
65g Carbs
36g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 721
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 34g 44%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 98mg 33%
Sodium 750mg 33%
Total Carbohydrate 65g 24%
Dietary Fiber 5g 19%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 36g
Vitamin C 27mg 133%
Calcium 96mg 7%
Iron 6mg 34%
Potassium 822mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)