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Carne Adovada

8 Servings

5 hours 50 minutes active

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We found that 3 ounces of New Mexico chilies—the widely available medium-hot chilies grown in the state—and 3 ounces of fruity, mildly smoky Mexican guajillos gave us just the right flavor. If guajillos are hard to find, another 3 ounces of New Mexico chilies can be substituted. Pork butt, which is cut from the shoulder, is a fatty cut. Trimming as much fat as possible from the meat—not just from the surface but also from between the muscles—helps prevent a greasy stew. After trimming, you should have 4 to 4½ pounds of pork. If the stew nonetheless ends up with fat on the surface, simply use a wide, shallow spoon to skim it off. This adovado is rich and robust; it pairs perfectly with Mexican rice, stewed pinto beans and/or warmed flour tortillas.




Don’t use a picnic shoulder roast for this recipe. The picnic cut, taken from the lower portion of the shoulder, has more cartilage and connective tissue, which will make trimming more difficult. Also, don’t use blackstrap molasses, which has a potent bittersweet flavor.

5 hours

50 minutes active


  • 3

    ounces New Mexico chilies, stemmed, seeded and torn into pieces

  • 3

    ounces guajillo chilies, stemmed, seeded and torn into pieces


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Eric R.
June 16, 2023
This is really delicious. I made a test batch and then enthusiastically added this adovada to a party menu where I am serving a trio of street tacos as the main course. This will be served alongside a grilled shrimp taco and a tri tip taco. I did not find this spicy, but it's pleasantly warm on the tongue. I ate some right away and also two days later. In my opinion, this does just fine to sit for a day or two, so it's a great make ahead. I did not add the last bit of sauce and molasses until I was finishing prior to serving. Make this!
Barbara C.

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Karen M.

This is on our list to make over the July 4th holiday. After reading the article then going over the recipe, I have a question. In the article, Mathew's favorite version is described as "the spices and vinegar brightened the chili flavor better than any other version I’d tried". Yet, this recipe does not use any vinegar. The only acid being the optional drizzle of lime juice at serving time. Why is vinegar not needed in this recipe?

Michael P.

I wrote to Milk Street with that exact question and they responded that "I checked in with our lead recipe developer and she told me that our team thought the vinegar combined with the bitterness of the chilies made the pork taste too sour. The lime juice gave it a bright flavor, without and sourness."

Keith H.

I have made this dish with pork and chicken, but without molasses. Plucking out the seeds from both peppers is worth the effort. The rich sauce that "rises" up from the blender is quite joyful, especially when you sample with a spoon, like one is supposed to do. My next foray is to use the molasses....please forgive.

John b.

So I strain the sauce through a sieve to remove all those little flicks of pepper skin that don't seem to cook up. I've made it both ways and find I like the smoother version. It takes a little more time but is worth the effort. I also use the meat to make fajitas with.

Michael P.

If you look at the step by step, the 3rd step leaves out the cumin seed in the ingredient list there. Otherwise this is a great recipe that I've made several times... love it.

Lynn C.

Hi Michael -

Thanks for pointing this out. We've corrected it!

The Milk Street Team

Diana L.

What would be a good substitute if you don't have MEXICO CHILIES or GUAJILLO CHILIES?

Lynn C.

Hi Diana -

The recipe calls for New Mexico chilies and guajillo chilies. If you can't find guajillo chilies you can use all New Mexico chilies. If you can't find either, you could substitute dried ancho chilies but, since these are more mild, the dish won't be as spicy.

The Milk Street Team

Alla W.

Question - is 325 degrees Convection bake temperature or conventional bake. In general are recipes at Milk street provide temperature for convec or conventional ovens. Thank you.

Lynn C.

Hi Alla -

All of our temperatures are listed for conventional bake. Since not everyone has a convection setting on their oven, we prefer to use conventional bake for all of our recipes so they can be used by everyone.

The Milk Street Team