Mexican Pork Marinade

This is a wonderful marinade, full of robust flavor, not subtle at all, and steeped in the Mexican flavor palate I love.  I am choosing to label this as a pork marinade because I think pork works best, but of course, you can use it with a broad range of proteins.  Skirt steak and chicken thighs would also be especially good.

Just to recap, a marinade requires two things:

  • An acid
  • A base flavor profile

In this particular example, the acid is easy: white wine vinegar.  There’s nothing subtle about that.  Our base flavors are peppers (fresh and re-hydrated dry), and aromatics such as onions and garlic.  The acid will tenderize and break down the pork, and allow our wonderful base flavors to work their way inside, permeating the meat in its entirety.

What a great marinade!  Try it the next time you want to make something truly authentic Mexican!

Mexican Pork Marinade

Prep time:  10 minutes
Cook time:  15 minutes
Yield:  About 2 cups prepared marinade


2 roma tomatoes, ends trimmed, cut into wedges
5 gloves of garlic
1 yellow onion, rough chop
5 serrano chilies, stems removes
5 dried guijuelo peppers, stems removed, seeds shaken out
1 tbsp salt
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 stick cinnamon
3 whole cloves
5 lb bone in pork shoulder, cut into large pieces (3″x3″), trimmed of most fat


Fill a small pot 3/4 full with water and add a good pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil.  Turn heat off and add the dry peppers.  Let steep for about 10 minutes or until soft.  Put all ingredients in a food processor, including the re-hydrated dry peppers.  Add about 1 cup of the pepper water.  Blend until smooth.

Pour over pork pieces, work thoroughly, and cover tightly (or place in a ziplock bag).  Let marinade overnight.

Cook however you see fit (simmering in broth, like carnitas-style is best).


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