Tinga (Spicy Mexican Shredded Pork)


America's Test Kitchen

Serves 4 to 6

Tinga is traditionally served on tostadas (crisp fried corn tortillas), but you can also use the meat in tacos and burritos or simply served over rice.



  • 2 pounds boneless pork butt , trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch pieces (see note)
  • 2 medium onions , 1 quartered and 1 chopped fine
  • 5 medium garlic cloves , 3 peeled and smashed and 2 minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • table salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground chipotle powder (or 2 canned chipotles, minced)
  • 2 bay leaves


  • queso fresco or feta cheese
  • fresh cilantro leaves
  • sour cream
  • Diced avocado
  • Lime wedges

Bring pork, quartered onion, smashed garlic cloves, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 6 cups water to simmer in large saucepan over medium-high heat, skimming off any foam that rises to surface. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and cook until pork is tender, 75 to 90 minutes. Drain pork, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Discard onion, garlic, and thyme. Return pork to saucepan and, using potato masher, mash until shredded into rough ½-inch pieces (see Step-by-Step below); set aside.

Heat olive oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add shredded pork, chopped onion, and oregano; cook, stirring often, until pork is well browned and crisp, 7 to 10 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in tomato sauce, chipotle powder, reserved pork cooking liquid, and bay leaves; simmer until almost all liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaves and season with salt to taste.

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