Sunday, December 14, 2008

Shredded Pork - Mexican Style

Over the summer I made
Ropa Vieja, a Cuban stew of shredded beef, peppers, and onions. As we were eating it, I thought that the recipe would be a good base for a Mexican flavored shredded pork. My parents came over for dinner last night and my mom had requested Mexican when I asked what she wanted, so I thought it would be the perfect cold Saturday to spend in the kitchen making Shredded Pork, Mexican Style.

So the recipe below is a modified version of the recipe I modified for Ropa Vieja (got that??). The original recipe for Ropa Vieja using beef can be found in the link in the paragraph above.


For braising pork:

  • 1 bone-in pork shoulder; mine was 7 lbs
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 carrots, chopped coarse
  • 1 large onion, chopped coarse
  • 1 celery rib, chopped coarse
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed lightly
  • 1.5 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the second step:

  • 2 green bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 red onion, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • Optional: chopped jalapeno peppers or another spicy Mexican pepper; I decided against them because my mom doesn't like things to be too spicy
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups braising liquid (will be left after braising)
  • a 14- to 16-ounce can whole tomatoes with juice, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 red bell peppers, 1 yellow pepper, and 1 orange pepper (great colors!!), cut into 1/4 inch strips


  • Place pork in a large kettle. Combine all braising ingredients and add them to the pot. Simmer, covered, 3 - 3/1/2hours, or until pork is completely cooked and tender. My pork was taking a really long time, so at about 3 hours 10 min I took it out, cut all of the meat off the bone, and returned it to the pot for another 20 min (I wouldn't have done this if I wasn't expecting guests for dinner, but I needed to move things along!)
  • Once pork is done, remove it from the pot to a large cutting board. Shred and set aside. The pork was so tender that it was very easy to shred it using 2 forks.
  • In the meantime, strain the braising liquid and discard all chunks of veggies. Return liquid to the pot and let it slightly reduce to no less than 2 cups.
  • Heat olive oil in a large pan. Add green peppers, red onions, and optional jalapenos. Saute 8 min, adding cumin and chili powder halfway through.
  • Add pork, tomatoes, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic, tomato paste, and 1 cup of the braising liquid. Bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • In a separate pan, saute the red, orange, and yellow peppers in olive oil until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add peppers to pork/pepper mixture, and add more braising liquid if it looks to dry.
  • Let simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
  • Optional: At the end, top with some cilantro (I completely forgot!! I had been cooking for so long that I just wanted to eat).

This pork was so fabulously tender and flavorful. We ate it in hard taco shells, soft tortilla shells, and over rice. We also enjoyed some Mexican Potato and Corn Soup as an appetizer.

This was a lot of work, and I'm sure the recipe could be adjusted for the crock pot, but I really enjoyed the process and seeing and smelling everything come together. My house smelled heavenly all afternoon!

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  1. This looks awesome... and I'd totally eat this with rice and call it a day. I love how colorful it is with the different colored bell peppers!

  2. Yum, looks delicious. I love anything briased, and I love Mexican flavors. Dare I say that step one could be done in a crockpot? :)

  3. Ha - yes, I'm sure step one could be done in a crockpot. I am going to try cooking in that thing one of these days...