Red Chile Braised Pork with pineapple salsa

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Succulent pork and the flavor and heat from chiles is a combination made in heaven.  While that may be overstating it a bit, the two together are used in so many dishes in Latin American, Asian and Italian cooking that I could probably do a blog about nothing but those two ingredients and have enough material for years.  Of course if I did I’d have to put up with “What?  Pork and chiles again?  Come on dad, can’t we have something different?”  So even though I thoroughly enjoy the two, I try to keep our dinners varied for the sake of our poor children.

This marinade and sauce is pretty pungent when you first taste it and the heat may seem too intense.  But trust me, when it mixes with the natural juices from the pork and is accompanied by the sweet cooling of the pineapple salsa, it’s a perfect marriage.  My five year old and nine year old adored it.  This dish can be served as tacos (that’s what we did),  over rice and black beans or the meat can be shredded for use in tamales and empanadas.  However you use it, try to marinate it overnight but as little as 6 hours will work.  Enjoy!

I started by soaking 10 guajillo and 6 New Mexico dried chiles in bowl with about 4 cups of  boiling water for 2 hours covered.  When they were done, I removed the stems and seeds and tore them into large pieces reserving 1/2 cup of the chile water.

I added the chiles to a blender along with 10 garlic cloves, 1/2 onion chopped, 1 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano, 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, the juice from 1 pink grapefruit, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 2 pinches of salt and 1/4 cup of the leftover chile water.  I blended it until smooth, scraping down the sides several times.  It will be thick.  If you need to thin it further, add 1 tablespoon of the chile water at a time until you get the right consistency.   I transferred the marinade to a bowl as this is used as a marinade and a sauce for later.

I trimmed the excess fat from about 3 1/4 pounds of pork butt, cut it into 7 large chunks and seasoned with several pinches of kosher salt.  I placed the pork in a large glass bowl and added 1 cup of the chile marinade/sauce and stirred it around to coat the meat.  I covered it with plastic wrap and let it marinate in the refridgerator for 24 hours.

I put the marinated pork into a large glass pan, covered it with foil and cooked it at 300 degrees for 3 hours.  When it was done, I let it cool slightly in the juices.  You can see that even though I didn’t add any liquid to the pan there was plenty released by the meat while cooking to braise itself.

I removed the pork from the pan and let cool thoroughly.  At this point you could also shred the meat and use it for barbecued sandwiches or many other things.

When the meat had cooled, I cubed it into bite size pieces and set aside for later.

I cut the bottom and top off a small pineapple then cut off the outside skin.  I cut it vertically into quarters and removed the core then diced it into small pieces.

In a glass bowl I combined the diced pineapple with 3 green onions diced (all the green and 1/2 of the white part), 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, 1 serrano chile seeded and minced, juice of 1 lime and a pinch of kosher salt.  I covered it and let it sit in the refridgerator for 1 hour to let the flavors meld.  I added the cubed pork to a nonstick pan with 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat and cooked until it had crisped slightly.  (Sorry, no photos.)  I added 1 cup of the reserved marinade/sauce and 1/2 cup of water and cooked until heated through and the sauce coated the meat well about 6-7 minutes.

And this was the final outcome.  We served it in warm corn tortillas, with just the meat, pineapple salsa and some queso fresco.  Enjoy!

Red Chile Braised Pork with pineapple salsa
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Succulent pork is braised with a blend of chiles and citrus along with it's own juices to create the perfect meat for tacos, over rice or even shredded for barbecue sandwiches. Here I paired it with a refreshing pineapple salsa that compliments the chiles perfectly.
Recipe type: Entree, Main
Serves: 6-8
  • 3 -3½ pounds boneless pork butt trimmed of excess fat and cut into 6-8 large chunks
  • several pinches kosher salt
  • 10 dried guajillo chiles
  • 6 dried New Mexico chiles
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • ½ small onion diced
  • 1½ teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 2½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Juice from 1 pink grapefruit
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 pinches kosher salt
  • ¼ cup reserved chile water
Pineapple Salsa
  • 1 small pineapple with skinned and cored then dice into small bites
  • 3 green onions diced (green and ½ of white part only)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 serrano chile seeded and minced
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • pinch of salt
  • corn tortillas
  • queso fresco or anejo
  1. Place the dried chiles in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Cover and let soak for 2 hours. When they're done, remove the stems and seeds and tear into pieces reserving ½ cup of the chile water. In a blender combine the the chile pieces and the rest of the marinade/sauce ingredients and blend until pureed. If the marinade is too thick, add 1 tablespoon chile water at a time until you get a good consistency. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Season the pork with several pinches of kosher salt and place in a large glass bowl. Add 1 cup of the marinade and stir to coat the meat. Cover and let sit in the refridgerator for 24 hours. You can let this marinate for as little as 8 hours but the flavor won't be as strong.
  3. Place the marinated meat in a large glass pan, cover tightly with foil and cook at 300 degrees for 3 hours. Remove the foil and let cool slightly in the juices.
  4. Remove the meat to a platter and cool completely then cube the meat into bite size pieces and set aside.
  5. Combine all the salsa ingredients in a bowl, cover and refridgerate for 1 hour.
  6. Fry the cubed pork in a non stick pan with 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat for 5 minutes until slightly crisped. Add 1 cup of the reserved marinade along with ½ cup water and cook until heated through and it coats the meat about 6-8 minutes.
  7. Serve with warm tortillas, the pineapple salsa and some queso fresco.













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Red Chile Braised Pork with pineapple salsa — 1 Comment

  1. I love this recipe! Living in the southwest, this is definitely what I call comfort food! Once is cools off here, I’ll be cooking this. Thanks for sharing!

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