Marinated Pork

6 servings
Pati Jinich
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: apple cider vinegar, cecina, guajillo chiles, pati's mexican table, pork
Author:Pati Jinich
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Marinated Pork recipe from Pati's Mexican Table Season 6, Episode 13 "More Than Just a Meal"


  • 12 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound pork cutlets, thinly sliced
  • Vegetable oil to grill

To Prepare

  • Place chiles on an already hot comal or skillet set over medium heat. Toast for about 1 minute per side, flipping as they toast. Place in bowl and cover with boiling hot water. Let them soak until they plump and rehydrate, for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Place the re-hydrated chiles and 1 cup of their soaking liquid in the blender, along with the garlic, vinegar, oregano, marjoram, thyme, salt and pepper and puree until completely smooth. Pour into a container and set aside. It can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to a couple months.
  • One by one, or two by two, place the meat slices on a chopping board in between sheets of parchment paper. With a meat mallet, pound until very thin, until you can see the paper under the meat, but it is not completely breaking apart thin, about 1/8-inch thick.
  • Once you are done, one by one, generously brush with the marinade on both sides of the meat to completely cover. You may cook immediately or refrigerate covered for up to 24 hours.
  • When ready to cook, set the charcoal or gas grill, outside, to medium-high heat. Or to cook indoors, place a grill pan over medium-high heat. When hot, brush with vegetable oil. Grill the meat for about 1 to 2 minutes per side until completely cooked.

24 comments on “Cecina

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  1. I made this for lunch yesterday, just with a salad and roast potatoes! That marinade gave a nice, spicy kick to the pork. Even my mom, who doesn’t care too much for spicy food, really enjoyed it. I’m definitely making more adobo/chile marinades like these!

  2. Hi Pati, I think I did something wrong. I made the sauce as directed and let it marinate for 24hrs but the pork tasted bland and undersalted. Was I supposed to salt the pork prior to putting the marinade on it? I am trying to figure out my misstep. I know this should have a strong flavor. Thank you!

  3. My husband has to be really careful about salt. I used to buy a small can of adobo sauce, but it has too much salt. Is there any reason I couldn’t use the paste from this recipe instead, say in the goat cheese spread from this same episode?

  4. I just strained the chili mixture as directed, but I’m confused what to put on the pork… the strained liquid or the thick paste in the strainer. When I watched I think I remember the marinade to be thick.

  5. Pati this was just amazing! Your recipes never disappoint. I used bisteca palomilla cut from the Mercado and it was fantastic. Going to try pounding out a chicken breast as an alternative too. How do you do it? I make so many of your recipes and part of my family who immigrated from from Mexico City tells me I nailed it every time. And don’t even get me started on your tamale recipe – love love love

  6. This recipe made a wonderful tasting Cesina on my second attempt. My first attempt created a terrible accident. This recipe dopes not contain enough information about roasting chilis.
    I am a novice at roasting chilis and ended up filling up my two story house with capsaicin fumes. During my first attempt I had serious trouble breathing almost getting overwhelmed by the fumes. I had burning burning eyes and a horrible cough. I had trouble trying to get the house aired out so I could breathe. Placing a cloth over my mouth and nose I opened all the windows and used the kitchen fan and a tornado fan to help remove the fumes from my kitchen and home. My neighbor came over, walked 8 feet into my home before the fumes overwhelmed her and she had to leave.
    The capsaicin particles on my hands did not burn my hands but burned my eyes and any moist place I touched with mu hands. After several attempts to wash off the capsaicin particles I finally Googled for a solution. That made me think I should rub my hands liberally with olive oil and then wash them with dish detergent, it worked about 95%. I found that I had capsaicin particles all over my face. I used a damp cloth to lightly rub off as much of the capsaicin particles as I could and then I gingerly washed off my face with charcoal soap. One day later I can still feel a bit of a discomfort in my throat and eyes.

    For those of us beginners of Mexican cooking we need more chili help then this recipe provided. Pati you made it look so easy but that was deceptive. Please help with more chili roasting info as I love the taste of your recipes. The next day I attempted the recipe again. On my second attempt I cooked the chilis about 30 seconds on a side which is half of what the recipe directed. But I still feel I did not do it correctly. I think it would be very big help for you to do a tutorial about chilis, how to handle them and how to roast them.

    1. I’m sorry to hear you had trouble with roasting the chiles, but I’m glad you enjoyed the dish. I will be happy to do a Chile tutorial in upcoming episodes. Thanks for your feedback!

  7. I love your show and encourage all my ladyfriends to watch (especially my Mexican ladies, who will be joining me for dinner tomorrow night). I’ll be making corn con queso soup, cesina sandwiches and the avocado/watercress/pecan salad, substituting mache for watercress. I am urging my friends to watch your program to see just how diverse Mexican cuisine truly is, beyond tacos, rice and beans!

  8. I’m trying this recipe with beef and I hope it comes out good, thank you !!! but do you eat with this sandwich ?No beans my son hate them. ( takes after his father ) ,

  9. Hi Pati.
    You are one of y favorite PBS cooks. I am so grateful to you for sharing your traditional and not so traditional recipes.