Beer and Ancho Chile Braised Pork Shoulder

Beer and Ancho Chile Braised Pork Shoulder
  • Difficulty:

  • Prep Time:

  • Total Time:

    5h - 8h
  • Servings:

    6 - 8


The smoky savory sauce from this dish flavors the meat in a soulful way and is delicious served with rice and vegetables, or on a whole grain roll or in tortillas.


  • 3 large dried ancho chilies, stems and seeds removed
  • 1 dried chipotle pepper (optional, if you like it spicy), stems and seeds removed
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 - 3 ½ lb. boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 Tbsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed, skin removed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 (12 oz.) bottle local beer, such as Rogue ‘Dead Guy’ ale


  1. In a medium heat-proof bowl place the chilies, cinnamon, cocoa powder and maple syrup and pour boiling water over all. Cover with a plate or plastic wrap and let steep until water has cooled and the dried chilies have softened. Blend to a smooth paste once cooled and spread all over the pork shoulder. Cover and allow the pork to marinate at least 4-5 hours or overnight for maximum flavor.
  2. Allow the marinated pork to come to room temperature when you are ready to cook it. Preheat the oven to 350°F if you are using a Dutch oven. Heat a large Dutch oven if you aren’t using a slow cooker, or heat a sauté pan if you are using a slow cooker. Heat the olive oil and add the onion, garlic and spices to the pan and sauté until fragrant. Add the marinated pork shoulder and marinade and sear over medium-low heat on all sides, stirring to prevent scorching.
  3. If you are using a slow cooker, transfer pork and contents of pan to the slow cooker and pour beer over the pork. Add more water if needed to cover the bottom of the slow cooker by two inches. If using a Dutch oven pour the beer over the pork and stir to release anything stuck to the pan, and cover and place in the preheated oven.
  4. For the slow cooker, allow the pork to cook over high heat until it begins to bubble and then turn to low heat and allow to cook until meat is soft and falling apart, about 4-5 hours. If cooking in a Dutch oven roast the pork for 2½-3 hours, basting with liquid occasionally.
  5. When pork is very tender and falling apart, transfer to a serving platter. Skim excess fat off surface of the cooking liquid and strain the liquid into a saucepan and reduce the liquid by half. Serve with the pork.
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