Venezuelan-Style Arepas With Pulled Pork (Arepas Rumberas) Recipe

This tender shredded pork makes a rich and moist filling for Venezuelan-style arepas.

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Why It Works

  • Braising the pork shoulder for several hours breaks down its tough connective tissue, yielding tender, shreddable meat.
  • Reducing the braising liquid concentrates its flavor. The liquid is then added back to the shredded pork, resulting in a rich, moist filling for the arepas.

This filling for Venezuelan-style arepas is my own take on arepas rumberas—"Party Arepas," so-called because they're the kind of thing you want to eat after a night of drinking a bit too much cerveza and aguardiente. Made with pork shoulder stewed in stock with roasted chiles and onions, it's topped with cilantro and dry crumbled fresh cheese (you can use Mexican queso fresco, queso blanco, or even feta).

Traditional? No. Delicious? That's a big si.

April 19, 2012

Recipe Facts

Active: 45 mins
Total: 3 hrs 15 mins
Serves: 8 servings

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  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)

  • 2 medium cloves garlic, grated on microplane grater (about 2 teaspoons)

  • 1 roasted poblano or hatch chile, fresh, frozen, or canned, finely chopped

  • 2 cups low sodium homemade or store-bought chicken broth

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 cup finely crumbled queso fresco, cotija, or feta

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Double recipe Venezuelan-Style Arepas


  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat until smoking. Add pork shoulder and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Transfer to a large plate.

  2. Reduce heat to medium-high. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add chile and chicken stock and scrape up browned bits with a wooden spoon. Return pork to the pot along with bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a bare simmer. Cover and cook until pork is completely tender, about 2 1/2 hours.

  3. Remove pork from pot with a slotted spoon and transfer to a medium bowl. Discard bay leaves, and increase heat to high. Boil until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup. Meanwhile, shred pork with 2 forks. Add liquid to pork and season to taste with salt and pepper (it may not need any salt).

  4. Set aside while you make the Venezuelan-style arepas. Split arepas, stuff with pork, top with crumbled cheese and cilantro, and serve with lime wedges and avocado slices if desired.

Special Equipment

Dutch oven

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
524 Calories
27g Fat
40g Carbs
29g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 524
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 35%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Cholesterol 89mg 30%
Sodium 561mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 15%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 29g
Vitamin C 8mg 42%
Calcium 207mg 16%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 490mg 10%
*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.)