Pork adobada

Pork adobada hot off the grill

Pork adobada means “marinated pork” in Spanish and could refer to a wide variety of meat treatments.  But, when I think of adobada I think of sliced pork marinated in a thick paste of red chile, garlic, oregano and vinegar and then grilled. I love the depth of the chiles, the aroma of the oregano and the tart kick from the vinegar. This is an amazing combination!

Adobada is like al pastor

Adobada is similar to al pastor. The chile marinade for both is nearly identical. The main difference is the cooking method. Al pastor is typically cooked on a rotating vertical spit and carved to order with a bit of pineapple sitting atop the column of pork. Adobada is simply grilled. Since I don’t own a vertical spit (and likely neither do you), adobada is the best method for achieving al pastor-like, deeply seasoned pork for tacos without all the equipment and work.

Serve this with rice and beans on the side.  I actually served this with a salad of roasted peppers, tomato, onion and avocado.  You can chop the grilled pork slices and use for tacos with corn tortillas, salsa, topped with a mix of chopped cilantro and onions. I highly recommend a habanero-based salsa for this. The end result is smoking hot, but the flavors of the habanero chiles pairs well with the pork.

The marinade/paste is so versatile it can be used with cubed pork threaded onto skewers.  How about a whole pork shoulder covered with this and slow roasted in the oven?  YUM!  You could also marinate chicken with this. And, if you actually have a vertical spit, you can use this marinade for al pastor.

Hot off the grill
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Have fun with this recipe and remember that none of these ingredients or proportions are set in stone.  So, tweak things to suit your family’s taste and make this your own! 


Grilled Pork Adobada

Pork marinated in a flavorful red chile paste.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword adobada, pork, tacos
Servings 6 people


  • 2 lbs pork shoulder or loin sliced thinly
  • 3 tbsp dark red chile powder guajillo, ancho, or other dark red chile
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/4 cup vinegar white or apple cider
  • black pepper to taste


  • Slice the pork into 1/4 inch slices and set aside. 
  • Mix the remaining ingredients except for the vinegar. 
  • Add vinegar until you end up with a paste about as thick as gravy. 
  • Add the pork and mix with your hands until you coat all of the pork.
  • Fire up the grill and cook uncovered over high heat for a few minutes on each side. 


  • The marinade should be thick enough to stick to the pork well.  Because the mixture acts almost more like a rub than a marinade, you can just put this straight onto the grill.
  • Ideally, you should heat the grill to hot enough so you can char each side without drying out the meat.  If you don’t think your grill gets that hot, try just cooking on one side until the meat is cooked through and then remove (without ever flipping over).

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