April 30, 2010 12:00 PM
Chilorio for Cinco de Mayo!
POSTED IN: Recipes , Main Courses
TAGS: Black pepper , Burritas , Chili pepper , Chilorio , Cinco de Mayo , Cumin , Garlic , Mexico , Onion , Parsley , Puebla , Vinegar
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Memories from growing up in Mexico City revolve around one celebration or another and mostly center on the foods that just had to be there.  If there was no holiday, anniversary, birthday or special occasion for a formal celebration, then we celebrated the food itself.  Just say the magic words and a get together would spring right up.

Nana made tamales? Fiesta!

Mami made mole? Well, what are you waiting for?

Papi brought real quesadillas potosinas? It is Sunday brunch everyone...

However, as much as I can remember, we didn't celebrate Cinco de Mayo. As kids we reviewed it in passing at school, unless you lived in the state of Puebla.  The place, where on a Cinco de Mayo in 1862, a small Mexican militia won an unexpected victory against the large French army.  It was a short-lived victory, as the French won right back. 

But fast-forward almost a couple centuries later: the French and Spaniards are gone, Mexicans proudly celebrate Independence Day every September 16th, and for a reason no Mexican can explain, Cinco de Mayo has become the most celebrated, joyous and colorful holiday for Mexicans living abroad.  It even surpasses the noise we make for Independence Day.

But of course! Any cause is worthy of celebration, especially if it has become the most grandiose occasion to rejoice on Mexicanness throughout the world.  Thus, at home, we celebrate Cinco de Mayo every year, since we moved to the US more than a dozen years ago.

My food of choice tends to be Chilorio, originally a cowboy dish from the state of Sinaloa, in the North of Mexico.  Chilorio has transcended international boundaries and retained its bold personality.  It is so tasty and popular, that it is even sold in cans inside and outside of Mexico.  But the canned version can't compare to the home made one, which is very simple to prepare.

Made by cooking meat in orange juice until tender and then finished off in a non-spicy Ancho chile sauce, it screams out Fiesta in every single bite.  Not only because of the richness of its colors and flavors, but because of how fun it is to assemble.

Just serve it at the table with a side of warm flour tortillas and your guests can roll their own burritas or burras, however skinny or chubby them want them to be.  You can also serve refried beans and avocado slices or guacamole that can be eaten inside or on the side of the burritas.  At home we tend to go for eating the beans and guacamole on the side, but it's up to you!

Say the word Chilorio and I can hear my monsters start to shout out: "Mami made Chilorio, come on over!"

And I say: Roll 'em up boys...

Serves 8

3 pounds boneless pork(butt, shoulder or loin with some fat on!) cut into 2" chunks, or substitute with chicken
1 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
5 dried ancho chiles(about 55 grams), tops and seeds removed
1 1/2 cup of the chile soaking liquid(see below)
1/2 cup white onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or more to taste
2/3 cup cider vinegar or distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons corn oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or more to taste
Flour tortillas, warmed, optional

Place rinsed meat chunks in an extended heavy pot. Barely cover with the orange juice and water, add a teaspoon of salt and set over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, bring the heat down to medium and let is simmer for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until most of the liquid has cooked off and the meat is thoroughly cooked and has rendered most of its fat.

Meanwhile, remove the stems from the chiles, make a slit down their sides and remove their seeds and veins. Place them in a bowl, cover them with boiling hot water, and let them sit and rehydrate for about 15 minutes. Place the chiles and 1 1/2 cups of their soaking liquid in the blender along with the onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, cumin, black pepper, vinegar, and puree until smooth.

Once the meat is ready, place it in a bowl along with any remaining cooking broth. Once it is cool enough to handle, shred it with your hands or with two forks.

In the same pot, heat oil over medium heat. Pour in the chile sauce and let it season and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. Toss in the shredded meat along with any of its remaining cooking broth. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and let it cook, stirring often, until the meat has absorbed most of the chile sauce, which will have thickened, seasoned and changed to a darker color. It will take about 20 minutes. Taste for salt and add more if need be.

Serve with warmed flour tortillas on the side. If you wish, spoon chilorio on tortillas and roll them into burritas or burras. They are wonderful with refried beans and avocado or guacamole on the side as well.


I madly love your monsters. Your chilorio recipe sounds very good. Could you mixe it with your scrambled eggs for a sunday brunch?

Perla | May 2, 2010 9:09 PM

Yes Perla!!!! That's a great idea. YUM, YUM, YUM!!!!!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Perla | May 2, 2010 10:37 PM

What a great blog you have got! It is easy to navigate and feels personal, with a lot of great pictures. Keep up the good work and happy cinco de mayo!

Linn @ Swedish home cooking | May 6, 2010 2:42 AM

Thank you very much Linn, so glad you like it!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Linn @ Swedish home cooking | May 6, 2010 6:19 AM

Hi Pati,
I just found your blog on Foodbuzz top 9 , congrats! Your blog is beautiful as is your writing and recipes. Yo tambien soy Mexicana :)

Nancy aka SpicieFoodie | May 6, 2010 10:59 AM

Well welcome Nanci!! Bienvenida a este blog and I am so glad that you found it because now I found you!!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Nancy aka SpicieFoodie | May 6, 2010 11:51 AM

I found your blog this morning and we had Chilorio for dinner. OMG, it is fantastic!! I knew when I read the recipe that it was something we'd enjoy. It was spot on. Jeesh, even the plain pork tasted fab after cooking in the OJ. My only change was to add about a tablespoon of brown sugar during the last step when letting the pork stew in the chili sauce for the fussies in the house. =P

I'm off to see what other goodies you have here on your beautiful blog. Thanks for sharing this.

Nic | May 9, 2010 1:30 AM

Nic, I am so glad you found it and so glad you liked it! Your addition of brown sugar in the end sounds like something I want to try (!)

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Nic | May 9, 2010 10:12 AM

I made this tonight for my roommates and I and we all absolutely loved it. I knew it was going to be a winner as I sat there shredding the meat with my hands, completely unable to resist tasting it every 30 seconds. Thanks A Lot and I love your site...

Drew B | June 4, 2010 1:31 AM

Dear Drew,
I am so glad you liked it! I also always end up eating a lot of it halfway through ; )

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Drew B | June 4, 2010 7:57 AM

I buy Ancho Chiles in bulk cause the cost is much less, but I am always trying to find receipes to them in. and Pork butt is always priced farely well so i will so enjoy making this.

vanessa delgado | July 16, 2010 4:24 PM

I also like to buy my Ancho Ciles in bulk! The great thing is they can be stored for a long period of time ; )

Pati Jinich replied to comment from vanessa delgado | July 16, 2010 5:31 PM

hi mom I am in school showing my friends your blog and now i am replying that adam has a really ugly bad and weird sandwich.

Alan Jinich | November 2, 2010 12:52 PM

Hola Alan,
Que bueno que estas en mi blog. I love you horrible monster!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Alan Jinich | November 2, 2010 8:22 PM

Hola, Pati!

My husband and I saw this on our local PBS station here in Fort Worth, TX. We are soooo looking forward to making this for his Tia when she comes to town next week!

I can't wait to try it and all your other recipes!

Heather | April 9, 2011 6:57 PM

I hope you enjoy the Chilorio, it goes so well in Tortas too... Enjoy!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Heather | April 11, 2011 10:59 PM

Saw your show on Dallas p.b.s. Wonderful...will anxiously look forward to being a faithful viewer. Making this recipe tomorrow. Thank You, and God Bless, Jim Head

Jim Head | April 14, 2011 12:19 AM

You're officially my very favorite cooking show! Not only are your recipes incredibly tasty, but they're easy to make and the ingredients are easy to find in any local grocery store.

I had friends over for dinner last night and made chilorios, charro beans, guacamole and the anise cookies. Everything was a hit and turned out exactly the way it looked on TV! I just watched your tomatillo show while enjoying leftover chilorios for lunch. Even better the next day.

If ever you're in Austin, you should try an Avocado Margarita at a place called Curra's. Sooo good! I wish I knew how to make them (hint hint!).

Side note, but the earthy bowls you use on your show are beautiful (I'm referring to the ones you used to soak the ancho chiles and in which you poured the tomatillo/lime jam). Do you know who makes them?

Thanks for creating a great show!

Scott Moore | April 23, 2011 3:50 PM

I made the pork Chilorio for dinner with Mexican pickled carrots, jalapenos and onions, and Mexican red rice. WOW! Pati, the pork was amazing, thanks for sharing the recipe.

Wayne | April 23, 2011 10:37 PM

Hi Pati,

Firstly, I caught your show on Chicago's PBS station while I was just flipping through the channels and it was amazing. I'm not of any Latin or Hispanic ancestry, but I swear I could eat the food all day long. I saw this specific recipe and I couldn't wait to try it. The only issue is that I'm a vegetarian.

I've been born and raised vegetarian, so I was wondering if you had any suggestions for a pork substitute in this recipe. I really want to try the ancho chile sauce you've made here, but I can't think of any good substitutes for the meat.

Please help!

Your new fan,

Sunny | April 28, 2011 9:19 PM

Hi Sunny,
Thanks so much for watching! You can easily convert chilorios into a vegetarian dish. Instead of meat, just use potatoes and zucchini- they will taste so good in the ancho chile sauce. Enjoy!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Sunny | May 2, 2011 10:54 AM

Hi Pati:

I watched your show for the first time yesterday. I was inspired to try the Chilorio tonight. I have a blog for mom's on a budget with both foodie kids and picky kids. My goal is to try to cook one protein and use it in different ways throughout the week. I was thinking tostadas, enchiladas or even mexican lasagna. Any other variations you can recommend?

Thank you. Love your show! Definitely watch everyday!

Foodie Mom

Foodie Mom | May 10, 2011 2:18 PM

Hi Foodie Mom! This is a versatile recipe that keeps really well in the refrigerator, it should be perfect for your idea to use it different ways throughout a week. You can serve it with a side of rice, then turn it into burritas served with guacamole. You can also make tortas and quesadillas. And it makes a great pizza topping! The chilorio is something you can really play around with, I hope you like it!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Foodie Mom | May 10, 2011 4:42 PM

Thank you for responding. It is an honor for me.

I went and bought the ingredients. I couldn't find dried ancho chiles in my local store. I bought Pasilla chiles instead. I'm very excited to try your recipe.

Foodie Mom replied to comment from Pati Jinich | May 10, 2011 5:44 PM

Hi Scott,
That is so sweet of you to say! Ooooh an avocado margarita sounds so tasty, I'll have to try one. Thanks for telling me about them. Also, most of the dishes I use on the show are from Tlaquepaque... Thanks for watching!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Scott Moore | May 12, 2011 11:40 AM

Hola Pati! I'd like to try this recipe this weekend; it looks great. Please tell me how much oil should the ancho sauce be cook in? Thanks again for sharing. Atentamente, Joe

Joe Cummings | June 22, 2011 8:07 PM

Hi Joe, you'll be fine using a couple tablespoons of oil. I hope you enjoy the chilorios!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Joe Cummings | June 28, 2011 2:07 PM

Hi Pati, Making your Chilorio, already loving the smell of the kitchen. I love your show. Felicitaciones!!!

Arlene Arricaberri | August 16, 2011 10:13 PM

Thank you Arlene! I hope you enjoyed it!!!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Arlene Arricaberri | August 18, 2011 6:54 PM

I made this dish. It was awesome, so fresh tasting and flavorful. I especially loved the sauce. I didn't use all the sauce. I froze it for a few weeks and just now added it to my favorite chili recipe. Can't wait to try after a good simmer. Keep cooking!

Robert W. | December 12, 2011 5:05 PM

So glad you liked the Chilorio Robert! Great idea about saving some sauce and using it later in your own recipes :)

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Robert W. | December 16, 2011 1:13 PM

Hi Pati,
Love your TV show- I was thinking about making the Chilorio for my Super Bowl party. Was wondering if I can make it a couple of days in advance and reheat? Any suggestions on reheating?

miss lulu | January 30, 2012 7:46 PM

Yes, you can absolutely make the Chilorio in advance! To reheat, make sure you cover and put it over moderate heat on the stove top or in the oven. If you are making the burritas (and wrapping the chilorio in flour tortillas), you will have to roll them before serving, because the flour tortillas will get soggy if wrapped a few days before.

Pati Jinich replied to comment from miss lulu | January 31, 2012 2:20 PM

Yes, you can absolutely make the Chilorio in advance! To reheat, make sure you cover and put it over moderate heat on the stove top or in the oven. If you are making the burritas (and wrapping the chilorio in flour tortillas), you will have to roll them before serving, because the flour tortillas will get soggy if wrapped a few days before.

Pati Jinich replied to comment from miss lulu | January 31, 2012 2:21 PM

I lived in New Mexico for many years and always wanted to perfect my mexican dishes. I now live in Oklahoma so a lot of the ingredients are not available. But I saw you on the Chew and I am so excited to start trying your dishes. You are adorable!

Rita | May 4, 2012 1:44 PM

I made this and it was so terrific. I'm thinking of offering it for a small crowd at a birthday party buffet/picnic with grilled tortillas and toppings bar. Is there a way you can get similar results cooking in the oven in a roasting pan or maybe on the stove over two units? One fry pan recipe won't be large enough, and I am worried about crowding the pan. I could use two pans, but that is tedious. Thoughts?

Brenda | July 6, 2012 4:47 PM

Hola Brenda, I am so glad you liked the Chilorio, and I love your idea of serving it with grilled tortillas and toppings bar! I would suggest using 2 large pots to make a large batch.

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Brenda | July 12, 2012 2:40 PM

Pati! I love your show and the foods you cook look soo delicious..can't wait to try this recipe :)

Maggie | August 8, 2012 12:24 AM

I love your show and all your recipes. I had chilorio recently in a Mexican restaurant in Bisbee, AZ. It was really good, and I was determined to find a recipe just as good or better so I could make it at home.
I was delighted to find your recipe because your food is always sooooo good, and my finished chilorio was fabulous!! I'm making it again this weekend for my own monsters, home briefly for a rare visit (they're all grown up and live in distant cities). I know it's gonna be a big hit! Thanks for sharing it!!

Marsha | August 8, 2012 7:17 PM

Let me know what you think Maggie!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Maggie | August 12, 2012 8:34 PM

Hola Marsha, I hope your family enjoyed the Chilorio! :)

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Marsha | August 12, 2012 8:40 PM

Hi Pati! I love your recipes, they are very authentic! One thing, I'm not sure if you have mentioned this, but one thing my mom taught me is when handling dried chilies to wear plastic gloves. I sometimes just use some plastic wrap, just enough to give my fingers wiggle room to clean the chilies. It helps to keep the spicy oils from getting on your fingers and sometimes it can be a pain to wash off completely, especially from the very hot chilies. Also a neat trick that seems to work if you do get spicy oils on your fingers or on your face if you inadvertently touch your face :p, is to wipe the oils off on someone's hair! Growing up my mom would sometimes ask for my hair to get chile off her hands! It's kind of funny and sounds silly but it seemed to work!

Viri | September 7, 2012 12:28 PM

That is so funny! Maybe the trick of the hair has to do with the oil the hair exudes... As the spicy element in chiles, capsacin, is oily, it dissolves with other kinds of oils. Neat trick!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Viri | September 8, 2012 7:16 PM

Hi Pati
Your recipe is deelicious! The only difference from mine is the orange juice, it really perked up the taste. I'll continue to cook it your way, because the OJ gives a good flavor. In regard to why Cinco de Mayo is more popular than the 16th of September here in the USA. Back in 1970, the 16th of Sept did not fit into the beginning of the school curriculum. The beginning of the school year was overwhelming for the teachers to handle much less prepare for a celebration. Cinco de mayo was at the end of the school year and the Teachers had no deadlines to meet with less stress.
Feliz Navidad y un Prospero Ano nuevo Love your show and can't wait to get your new cookbook

Jenny Ricardo | December 24, 2012 2:49 PM

Hi Jenny, Thank you for the insight on Cinco de Mayo! I never thought of it's popularity having anything to do with the school curriculum.

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Jenny Ricardo | December 28, 2012 6:24 PM