Chile-Braised Pork Shoulder
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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You'll want to put this deliciously tender, spiced, juicy pork on everything: tacos, sandwiches, nachos and more!

Technique tip: Placing a smaller bowl over the soaking chiles will keep them submerged and help them soften.


    • 4 large dried ancho chiles (3/4 ounces), stemmed and seeded
    • 2 large dried chiles de árbol or japones chiles, stemmed and seeded
    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
    • One 5-pound boneless pork shoulder (aka Boston butt)
    • Kosher salt
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 large onion (about 2 cups), chopped
    • 3 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
    • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
    • One 12-ounce bottle dark beer


1. Place chilies in medium bowl. Add enough boiling water to cover, and set a small plate or bowl on chiles to keep them submerged. Let soak until softened about 30 minutes. Drain chilies, reserving 1 cup soaking liquid.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place chiles, sugar, lime juice and 1/4 cup reserved soaking liquid in a blender. Puree the mixture, adding more soaking liquid as needed to form a smooth paste.

3. Season the pork shoulder generously with salt and spread the chile paste over pork (the pork can be rubbed 1 to 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Let come to room temperature before continuing.)

4. Heat oil in large heavy pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, oregano, coriander, cumin and allspice. Cook, stirring often, until onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Add the beer and bring to a boil. Add pork to pot, cover and transfer to the oven.

5. Braise pork, basting occasionally with pan juices, until very tender, about 2½-3 hours.

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Chile-braised pork shoulder: A recipe perfect for al fresco dining

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