Pork in Adobo

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It’s cold and I’m on a chile roll. Slow-cooked pork shoulder in adobo (red chile sauce) is one of my favorite Dutch oven dishes. It’s a bit of work, but well worth the time and trouble. This recipe makes enough sauce for 2 batches, so I always freeze half of it in a food-saver bag.

12 Guajillo Chiles, dried
8 Ancho Chiles, dried
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 large yellow onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup olive oil
12 ounces Mojo Criollo
1 cup water
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons Achiote paste
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cumin, ground
1 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
8 pounds pork butt (shoulder roast)

Wearing rubber gloves, stem and seed the chiles. If you gently pull the stem off  it takes most of the seeds with it. Cut open the side of the pepper with kitchen shears, then spread it open and scrape out the remaining seeds and veins.

In a dry skillet (no oil) over medium heat, fry the chiles in small batches for just for about 15-20 seconds a side until they start to change color and become fragrant. As they finish cooking, remove them to the bowl of water.

When all of the chiles are cooked and in the bowl, use a small plate to weight them down so they are completely covered in water. Let this sit 15 to 30 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and cook until softened. Drain the chiles, discarding the soaking water, and add them to the onion and garlic. Stir in the water, Mojo Criollo, chicken broth, and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Use an immersion blender or food processor to blend the chile mix until smooth. Add the salt, sugar, cumin, and oregano. Cook until the sauce is thick enough to heavily coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and let cool. Once cool, divide the sauce and freeze half for later.

Bone the pork butt and cut into half inch cubes, removing any excess fat or connective tissue. Place in a large, sealable container – a gallon-size freezer bag set inside a 9×13 baking pan works fine. Add the adobo, mix well, seal tightly, and refrigerate at least 24 hours (48 is ever so much better), turning often.

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The Cook

Set your grill or smoker up for at least a 5 hour cook over indirect heat at 300°F. On my my Big Green Egg that means filling the firebox with lump charcoal and using the plate setter with a trivet on it to diffuse the heat. Once the Egg had stabilized at 300°F, I added a couple of chunks of hickory for smoke.

Pour the meat and marinade into a large dutch oven or other grill-safe pan. Put the pot in the cooker uncovered. For the first few hours, stir the pork only once every hour or so. The longer you wait between stirring, the more the chunks of pork on the top will start to brown.

Keep a close watch and stir more often once the adobo thickens up and the meat starts to fall apart. You may want to add a little water or stock to keep the bottom from burning.  Total cook time is about 3 to 5 hours. The dish is done when the meat completely falls apart and most of the liquid is gone.

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We served this batch on corn tortillas with a little cilantro. It was outstanding.

2 thoughts on “Pork in Adobo”

  1. Good lord, every one is posting such great recipes and food photos tonight! I’m ready for a second dinner. I have a chili comp coming up in 3 weeks and this might be my second entry. (It’s a non sanctioned charitable event, not Texas chili rules)

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