Salsa de Carne Frita

Crispy Pork in a Morita Salsa


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 6

Appears in

Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico


By Bricia Lopez and Javier Cabral

Published 2019

  • About

This is a staple Oaxacan dish that is not made anywhere else in Mexico. The essence of this dish comes from deeply caramelized pork. It is fried in its own rendered fat until it’s so hard that it is almost chicharrón. You want the little bits of pork to stick to the pot, so when you add the salsa, it picks it all up and develops into a deeply nutty savory salsa.


  • 2 pounds (170 g) pork spare ribs, cut into 3-inch (7.5 cm) strips
  • Sea salt
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • ¼ cup chopped white onion (25 g)
  • 1 pound tomatillos (140 g), husked and rinsed
  • cups (about 480 g) chopped tomatoes
  • 4 morita chiles (or chipotle) (8 g), stems removed


Place the ribs in a stockpot and cover with 3 cups (720 ml) of water and some salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. When the water begins to boil, skim all brown foam off with a double-fine-mesh strainer. Keep repeating until the water no longer has any foam. Add the garlic and onion. Allow the ribs to boil for 5 minutes more.

Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove 1 cup (120 ml) of broth and set aside. Continue to cook over medium heat until all the liquid has evaporated and the ribs start to get crispy and browned on each side. Remove the ribs piece by piece and place them in a dish. Do not wash the pot, as you will be using it again and all the brown bits stuck to the bottom will add great flavor to this dish.

In another pot, bring ¾ cup (180 ml) of water to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer, add the tomatillos and tomatoes, cover, and let cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Dry-toast the chiles on a comal or griddle until fragrant. Add them to the cooking tomatoes and tomatillos. Once the chiles are soft, place the chiles, tomatillos, and tomatoes in a blender and blend until finely pureed.

Remove any excess grease from the stockpot you used to brown the pork, if necessary, leaving just enough to fry your sauce, about 1 tablespoon. Do not remove any brown bits, as these will contribute a deeper flavor to the sauce. Over medium heat, add the tomato puree, the cup of liquid you reserved, plus ¼ cup (60 ml) of water to the pot. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the ribs to the sauce and keep simmering for another 5 minutes. Serve in a bowl with some black beans and a pile of warm tortillas on the side.