Carne Adovada - Authentic New Mexican recipe
Breakfast, Lunch

Carne Adovada

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Carne adovada is the king of marinated New Mexican meats. It’s a right of passage. Carne adovada is a minor, red-chile religion. It’s wonderful. Just like grits in the south, or smoked salmon in the Pacific Northwest, you’ve got to try it, eat it, then make your own. Get it wrong and your mother will disown you, your neighbors will forever encourage their dogs to decorate your lawn.

You’ll be a disgrace. Fortunately, this recipe just works. Prepare for a barrage of “How did you make this?”

Carne Adovada - Authentic New Mexican recipe


For the fermentation

  • beef chuck roast, stew meat, or pork shoulder, pork butt, or bone-in pork shoulder
  • ground coriander
  • Mexican oregano
  • brown sugar (or honey)
  • homemade red chile
  • yogurt culture (if you’re fermenting, if not, you can skip a few steps)
  • chicken stock

Prep your meat by cubing it and setting it in a large bowl. If you’re using bone-in pork shoulder, put the bone in the bowl (you’ll throw it in the pressure cooker later).

Combine the rest of the seasonings in separate bowl and stir until sugar is [decently] dissolved.

Next, get a clean kitchen towel and a 1 ½ cups of plain yogurt. Don’t stress about the kind. I always use whole fat, but you’re only using the yogurt for the lactobacillus cultures. Place a cup of yogurt in the towel and squeeze out the liquid over your bowl.

Pro Tip: Yogurt cultures look like milky water. That’s what you want. Don’t oversqueeze or you’ll get lumps of yogurt in your meat.

You can totally eat the dried yogurt puck when you’re finished… it’s just dried out yogurt. Drizzle with honey and eat it as a snack.

Stir up everything in the pot and give the meat a quick smell. If you’re using the official Ben Intentional red chile recipe, you should be smelling a lot of thick red chile and glorious roasted garlic flavors. 

Now, we wait.

Cover, then throw that in the refrigerator for 2-5 days depending on how “tangy” you want your carne adovada to end up. Essentially, the live cultures are turning sugar (carbohydrates) into energy and creating a tiny bit of acid. It’s an old process that mankind has been utilizing for thousands of years. 

2-4-days later…

Take the meat out of the fridge, add in a cup of chicken stock, then Instant Pot cook on high for 20-minutes.

If you’re cooking it on the stove, add in two cups of chicken stock, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about two hours. Check it every 30-minutes to make sure you still have liquid.

After it cooks you’ll have a nice film of fat riding just below your adovada juice. Strain off as much of the fat as you want/can then separate 1/4 cup (60 ml) of that liquid fat to make a slurry. 

Pour the slurry over your HOT adovada and then add another cup of red chile. Salt to taste… annnd you’re done. 

Don’t forget your homemade tortillas.



What’s the shelf life?

As with most things, carne adovada is best eaten fresh. However, if you’re a planner or like to make a little extra to enjoy later on, this carne adovada will keep up to four days in the refrigerator.

Can I freeze this carne adovada? How long?

You absolutely can! Freezing is a great way to make carne adovada ahead of time to enjoy later. It will keep in the freezer for two months.

Do I have to ferment it?

Nope! Although I will say fermenting the carne adovada brings out a unique and rich tart flavor. If you’re not fermenting, follow the recipe and simply add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar at the end (after you cook everything).

What meat do I need to use?

Traditionally, this is made with pork. I prefer it with beef. I’d suggest staying away from chicken. For the best carne adovada you need a fatty meat. Turkey could work, but I’ve never tried it.


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Carne Adovada - Authentic New Mexican recipe

Carne Adovada

  • Author: Ben
  • Total Time: 48 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Simple, Fermented Carne Adovada



For the Ferment

  • 3lbs (1.5 kg)  beef chuck roast, stew meat, or pork shoulder, pork butt, or bone-in pork shoulder- cubed
  • ½ tsp (2.5 ml) ground coriander
  • 1 TBS (10 ml) Mexican oregano
  • 1 TBS (15 ml) brown sugar (or honey)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) homemade red chile 
  • 3 TBS (45 ml) yogurt culture
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (240 ml) chicken stock

After Cooking

  • 3 TBS (45 ml) corn starch
  • 1 cup (240 ml) red chile



The Ferment (if not fermenting, skip steps 3&4)

  1. Start by cleaning and cubing your meat and placing it in a large bowl. Cleaning = removing any big chunks of fat.
  2.  In a separate bowl, combine your coriander, oregano, brown sugar, and red chile. Stir until well combined then pour over cubed meat.
  3. Get a kitchen towel and scoop a cup of yogurt into it. Over the meat, squeeze out 3-6 TBS (95 ml) of yogurt culture. Stir meat concoction, cover, and place in fridge for 2-5 days.
  4. Stir meat every day, smelling it to make sure it isn’t turning sour. A slight tang is perfect, but an abrasive sour punch to the nostrils is NOT GOOD.
  5. Remove from fridge and place in pressure cooker. Set at high pressure for 20-minutes.
  6. Vent pressure cooker after it has finished cooking. Stir. Add in additional cup of red chile.
  7. Thicken by ladling a 1/4 cup (60 ml) of adovada juice and whisking in 3 TBS of corn starch. Pour slurry back into adovada and stir.
  8. Enjoy! (Don’t forget to make your tortillas! [LINK])



If not fermenting, you can blast through the cooking and prep process in under an hour. Just before thickening, add in 1 TBS of apple cider vinegar or lime juice. It’ll give you some tang without the days in the fridge.

  • Prep Time: 2 days
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes (on high pressure)
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: New Mexican

Keywords: Carne Adovada Recipe, Homemade Carne Adovada, New Mexican Carne Adovada, Mexican Carne Adovada

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