Pati Jinich cesina or marinated pork



Marinated Pork


Recipe Yield

6 servings

Cooking time

50 minutes

Rate this recipe

3.67 from 6 votes


  • 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.


24comments inCecina

  1. Carlos Ayala

    Oct 20

    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!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Oct 21

      That’s wonderful, Carlos!

  2. Carrie

    May 21

    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!

    1. Pati Jinich

      Jun 03

      Oh I’m sorry to hear this. You can add salt to taste before cooking the pork, Carrie.

  3. Nancy

    Jan 29


    We love this dish! What else can we use the chile sauce with?

    1. Pati

      Feb 08

      Yay! It goes with so many things…chicken, beef, rice, or whatever you can imagine 😉

  4. Laura Hjorth

    Aug 22

    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?

    1. Pati

      Aug 24

      Give it a try, Laura (as long as it hasn’t touched the pork yet). Or I also have a recipe for Chiles in Adobo, where you can control for the salt and adjust for your needs:

  5. Kathy

    Aug 07

    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.

    1. Pati

      Aug 08

      Oh it should be a thick paste, Kathy. Enjoy!

  6. Jules

    Jun 29

    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

    1. Pati

      Jun 29

      I’m so happy to hear that you make so many of my recipes, Jules! Thank you so much. You can use chicken in this recipe too…and as for how to pound out the chicken…here’s another recipe to follow:

  7. Trena

    Feb 24

    I am making this now for the first time. So excited to eat tonite for dinner. Thank you Pati. We always enjoy your recipes

    1. Pati

      Feb 26

      Thank you so much Trena!

  8. Cailinrua

    Feb 08

    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. Pati

      Feb 09

      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!

  9. Anonymous

    Jan 25


    1. Pati

      Jan 26

      Oh wow! I’m so happy to hear that!!!

  10. Krystyna

    Jan 18

    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!

    1. Pati

      Jan 18

      Thank you for watching and for spreading the word Krystyna! I hope you have a wonderful dinner party tomorrow!

  11. Beth P.

    Jan 16

    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 ) ,

  12. Anonymous

    Dec 15

    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.

    1. Pati

      Dec 15

      Aww thank you so much!

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