Pork Machaca (Tender Pulled Mexican Pork) Recipe

Do you love the flavors and spices in Mexican food? I sure do, and I’ve got a recipe that will knock your socks off. Introducing: Pork Machaca, a tender and juicy pulled pork dish that’s perfect for any meal of the day.

A staple of Mexican cuisine, Pork Machaca is traditionally made by drying meat in the sun until it’s completely dehydrated. However, our modern version of Pork Machaca takes all the work out of it, without sacrificing any flavor or juiciness.

With its blend of oregano and garlic, simmered with diced tomatoes and chicken bouillon powder, the aroma alone will make your mouth water. And when you take that first bite of tender pulled pork – well, let’s just say you won’t be able to stop at just one serving.

This recipe is incredibly versatile – it can be cooked in a slow cooker or Instant Pot, depending on your preference. The best part? It’s perfect for meal prep; make a big batch ahead of time and enjoy it for days to come.

So what are you waiting for? Get ready to impress your taste buds with this amazing Pork Machaca recipe.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Pork Machaca (Tender Pulled Mexican Pork)
Pork Machaca (Tender Pulled Mexican Pork)

Do you crave the bold, irresistible flavors of Mexican cuisine? Look no further than this tender, juicy and delicious pork machaca recipe. This authentic recipe has been passed down from generations, perfected through trial and error, to bring you the ultimate taste of Mexico.

What sets pork machaca apart is its versatility. You can serve it as a filling for tacos, burritos or enchiladas, or even eat it alone as a main dish.

What’s more? You don’t need fancy cooking skills or tools to make this dish. With just a few basic ingredients and equipment like an instant pot or slow cooker, you can easily prepare this mouth-watering feast for your family and friends.

The recipe itself is simple and straightforward but the end result is spectacular. The combination of garlic cloves, oregano, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken bouillon powder and water blend seamlessly to create a savory sauce that infuses into the pulled pork. It’s tender easily shreds apart – creating a luscious texture that pairs well with any side dish.

Another great feature about pork machaca is that you can substitute beef or shredded beef in place of meat- making this recipe versatile for any dietary preference.

So why not bring a taste of Mexico into your kitchen tonight! Straightforward ingredients, easy preparation instructions plus endless possibilities- You’ll love this recipe- guaranteed!

Ingredient List

 Get ready to fall in love with the tender, shredded goodness of Pork Machaca!
Get ready to fall in love with the tender, shredded goodness of Pork Machaca!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this tender pulled Pork Machaca recipe:

Pork: You will need a meat cut that is ideal for slow cooking, and I recommend using pork butt or pork shoulder. Both cuts have a good fat content, which will help keep the meat moist while cooking.

Garlic: Garlic adds a pungent and savory flavor to the dish. For this recipe, we will be using minced garlic cloves. I recommend using fresh garlic as it has a better flavor than jarred minced garlic.

Diced tomatoes: We will use canned diced tomatoes for this recipe. Look for tomatoes that have no added salt, sugar, or seasoning.

Tomato paste: Tomato paste is used to add richness to the dish and give it a deep red color. You can find it in a tube or a can at your local grocery store.

Chicken bouillon powder: The chicken bouillon adds flavor to the dish and acts as a seasoning agent. It is recommended that you use powder rather than cubes because the cubes take longer to dissolve.

Water: We will be adding water to dilute the tomato paste and chicken bouillon powder so that they can spread evenly throughout the dish.

Oregano: Use dried oregano in this recipe to add depth and aromatics to the dish.

Optional: 1 tablespoon orange juice – This ingredient is not traditional, but it gives the Pork Machaca an extra dimension of flavor.

Feel free to adjust the seasoning according to your preference.

The Recipe How-To

 The perfect blend of savory, spicy and smoky flavors in every bite.
The perfect blend of savory, spicy and smoky flavors in every bite.

Now that we’ve covered the ingredients, let’s get started on preparing this Pork Machaca! I suggest using a slow cooker for the best results.

Step 1: Sear the Pork

Begin by heating a large skillet over medium-high heat. Rub 3 lbs of pork shoulder or pork butt with salt, pepper and cumin.

Once the skillet is hot, add some oil and place the pork into the skillet. Sear on all sides until browned, about 3-4 minutes per side. This will help to lock in the juices and give the pork a delicious flavor.

Step 2: Slow Cook for Tender Pork

Next, transfer the seared pork to a slow cooker. Add enough chicken broth to cover half of the meat along with 4 minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon dried oregano, 2 diced tomatoes, 1 can tomato paste and 1 tablespoon chicken bouillon powder.

Set your slow cooker on low heat and cook for 8-10 hours or until the pork is fork-tender and easily shreds.

Step 3: Shred the Pork

When ready, remove the pork from the slow cooker and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Then, using two forks or your hands (if you can handle heat), shred the pork into small pieces. You’ll find that the meat will shred apart buttery easily because of how moist it will be.

Step 4: Put back into Broth

Once shredded, put back into soup and continue to cook on the lowest setting until ready to use.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully prepared Tender Pulled Mexican Pork aka Pork Machaca!

Substitutions and Variations

 Make your taste buds dance with this authentic Mexican pork dish.
Make your taste buds dance with this authentic Mexican pork dish.

If you don’t have all the ingredients listed or just want to mix things up a bit, there are several substitutions and variations you can try.

First and foremost, this recipe calls for pork, but feel free to substitute with beef if that’s more to your taste. A beef machaca recipe is just as delicious as the pork version.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot or slow cooker, this recipe can also be made on the stovetop. Simply simmer everything in a pot over low heat, covered, until the meat is tender and easily shredded.

For even more flavor, try adding some orange juice to the recipe. This gives the meat a tangy sweetness that pairs perfectly with the bold flavors of oregano and garlic.

If you prefer shredded beef over pork, go ahead and use it! You’ll get a similar result as long as you use a tougher cut of meat that can be braised for several hours until it becomes tender enough to shred.

Don’t have chicken bouillon powder on hand? You can substitute it with any other type of bouillon or broth. Just make sure to adjust the amount according to the instructions on the package.

Finally, if you’re looking for a vegetarian or vegan option, this recipe can be made with tempeh or mushrooms instead of meat. Simply slice them thinly and follow the same cooking process until they are tender.

In short, there are many variations and substitutions you can try with this pork machaca recipe to suit your personal taste preferences or dietary restrictions. Experiment and find your own twist on this classic Mexican dish!

Serving and Pairing

 Your search for the perfect pulled pork recipe ends here.
Your search for the perfect pulled pork recipe ends here.

There are so many tasty ways to enjoy your Pork Machaca! I love to make tacos with this delicious tender pulled Mexican pork. Simply fill your taco shells or tortillas with the flavorful pork, some fresh salsa and avocado. You can also add a touch of lime juice or pickled jalapenos for an extra zing.

Another fantastic way to serve Pork Machaca is by mixing it up with scrambled eggs for a heavenly breakfast or brunch feast. Just sauté up some veggies like onions and bell peppers, beat in some eggs and add a generous serving of your Pork Machaca. Top it all off with a sprinkle of your favorite cheese and some chopped parsley.

Feeling adventurous? Try making Pork Machaca nachos by layering tortilla chips, black beans, sour cream, guacamole and plenty of shredded cheese. Warm it up in the oven until the cheese is melted, then top with generous spoonfuls of your tender pulled Mexican pork.

This dish pairs perfectly with a variety of side dishes that complement Mexican food, including refried beans, Spanish rice or Mexican street corn (elotes). And to drink? A nice cold margarita or icy cerveza will go perfectly alongside your flavorful Pork Machaca.

Overall, the versatility of this dish makes it perfect for just about any occasion – whether you’re having a cozy night in or entertaining guests for a fun soirée. Enjoy!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Get your fiesta started with this crowd-pleasing dish.
Get your fiesta started with this crowd-pleasing dish.

Preparing meals in advance can save time and effort, especially when you’re dealing with a slow-cooked dish like Pork Machaca. Fortunately, this dish reheats beautifully and can be stored for days without losing its flavor.

If you’re planning to make Pork Machaca ahead of time, allow the meat to cool down completely before storing it in an airtight container. You can refrigerate it for up to 4-5 days or freeze it for up to 2-3 months.

To reheat the Pork Machaca, place it in a microwave-safe container and heat it on high for 2-3 minutes. You can also heat it over stovetop by adding 1 tablespoon of oil to prevent sticking and placing the meat in a pot on medium heat. You may need to add some water or chicken broth as well. To maintain the tenderness of the meat, be sure not to overcook it.

For meal prepping purposes, you can also divide the cooked Pork Machaca into portions and freeze them separately in freezer bags. This allows for more flexibility when reheating, allowing you to thaw only what you need for each meal.

Overall, with its versatile make-ahead, storing and reheating options available to both refrigerate or freeze, the Pork Machaca can be easily incorporated into your meal plan throughout the week making your weekday meals that much easier!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Fork-tender, juicy and packed with bold flavors.
Fork-tender, juicy and packed with bold flavors.

When it comes to cooking a delicious Pork Machaca, the choice of meat is key. A cut of meat that is too lean can result in a dry and tough machaca while a cut that is too fatty can leave you with greasy and heavy taste. That’s why choosing the right kind of meat for this recipe is essential.

What’s the best cut of meat? The answer depends on your personal preference. Pork shoulder or pork butt are great choices because they have enough fat to render during cooking, resulting in tender, juicy and flavorful machaca. Some people prefer to use pork loin for a leaner option, but it may not be as moist as other options. Beef machaca recipe calls for using shredded beef, which is another good alternative for those who don’t eat pork.

Another crucial factor to ensure tender pulled Mexican pork is cooking it low and slow. While some instant pot carnitas recipes claim that you can have carnitas in 30 minutes, I suggest taking your time with this one. Pork machaca tender pulled mostly requires a slow cooker because it allows the flavors to blend in better as the meat breaks down and becomes more tender easily over time. However, if you’re short on time, you can make it happen in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker; just adjust accordingly.

Seasoning is also essential when it comes to producing excellent Pork Machaca. I recommend using dried oregano for an authentic flavor that pairs well with garlic cloves and diced tomatoes. A little bit of tomato paste and chicken bouillon powder will also add depth to your dish. Don’t forget to season your dish with salt to taste.

Lastly, to achieve the perfect balance of sweet and tangy flavors for your machaca recipe, try adding a splash of orange juice when simmering the meat. It’ll compliment any spices used and provide a touch of brightness that will make your dish even more irresistible.

In summary, stick with cuts that have enough fats like pork shoulder or pork butt, cook low and slow for best results, season well with dried oregano, garlic cloves, diced tomatoes or tomato paste, chicken bouillon powder adding orange juice whenever necessary for an added layer of flavor!


Now, it’s time to address some commonly asked questions. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about this Pork Machaca Recipe. Read through them to get answers to all your doubts and concerns. Let’s get started with our FAQ!

What is the secret to tender pulled pork?

For achieving melt-in-your-mouth, succulent pulled pork, we let it cook slowly on low heat. You may enjoy it on its own or mix it with your preferred barbecue or other sauces towards the end of the cooking process.

What can I add to pulled pork to make it juicy?

To maintain the moisture of the meat in the crockpot, it is recommended to intermittently spray it with chicken broth or apple juice. For enhancing the flavor, spraying white wine can also be a great option. Shredding of the pork can be done either during the cooking process or after. This technique can come in handy when you want to add an extra dimension of texture to the dish.

What is the best pork for shredded pork?

When it comes to cooking pulled pork, using pork shoulder is highly recommended. This particular cut of meat contains the right amount of fat to produce soft, flavorful pork that can be effortlessly pulled apart. However, the key is to cook it slowly to ensure that the meat protein is broken down correctly.

What is machaca made out of?

Machaca, a style of dehydrated meat popular in northern Mexico, is typically made with beef. This preservation method not only helps in instances where fresh meat is scarce, but it also intensifies the beef’s taste, allowing for more versatility with a smaller amount.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, I hope that you will try out this delicious and tender Pork Machaca recipe. It’s a perfect meal for any occasion, and it’s easy to make with just a few ingredients. Whether you are hosting a summer BBQ, having a family dinner or craving some authentic Mexican food, this recipe is an excellent choice.

With its rich flavors of garlic, oregano, diced tomatoes, and chicken bouillon powder, this dish is sure to be loved by everyone. And thanks to the Instant Pot and slow cooker features available in the recipe How-To section, you’ll find it easy to cook when you’ve got a busy day.

Furthermore, the substitutions and variations section gives you options on how best to modify the recipe based on your preferences. You can choose different cuts of meat such as beef machaca or shredded pork instead of pulled pork.

Lastly, don’t forget that your serving options are limitless; while it’s commonly served as taco filling with garnishes like guacamole, sour cream or shredded cheese. You can also pair it with rice, beans or even use it as a topping for nachos.

So what are you waiting for? Gather up the ingredients, grab your Instant Pot or slow cooker and let’s get cooking this fantastic Pork Machaca recipe. Trust me; your taste buds will thank you!

Pork Machaca (Tender Pulled Mexican Pork)

Pork Machaca (Tender Pulled Mexican Pork) Recipe

This is used to make burritos, tacos, or even a Mexican style pot roast. Although it makes a lot, it freezes well; and the broth makes a nice base for posole soup. Quantities are inexact but strict adherence to the recipe is not that crucial; I make this in restaurants and just "go by eye". Props to GaylaJ for shaming me into posting my first recipe here!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 425.2 kcal


  • 1 (4 -5 lb) pork butt (about 4-5 lbs, but up to 10 is fine too)
  • 2 quarts water (enough to cover meat by about 2/3)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder (Knorr is my favorite)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes or 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 20 whole garlic cloves (or 2 tbl. granulated, but fresh will work better)
  • 4 whole jalapenos, more can be used for a spicier final dish (or 2 small cans diced green chiles, or 1 small can jalepenos-not pickled)
  • 2 teaspoons oregano (dry leaf..never use ground!)


  • Combine all ingredients in a stockpot and simmer until fork tender-this can take from 3-4 hours.
  • Can be made in a crock pot also-decrease liquid by about 1/2, bouillon powder by 1/3, and cook on low for 8-10 hours (or until tender as above).
  • When tender, remove from heat and allow meat to cool in the broth until cool enough to handle (this will keep the meat moist).
  • Shred (or "pull") either with forks or by hand.
  • Place in storage container and add some of the broth to moisten; refrigerate until needed.
  • Reheat either in microwave, or in saucepan; use a little of the juice to keep it moist.
  • For the Mexican-flavored pot roast, don’t shred-slice fairly thick (about 1/2"), and make a gravy by thickening some of the juice with either cornstarch or roux (sorry, you’ll have to thicken by sight; tough to give an exact quantity for that); serve with plain steamed rice/boiled potatoes and a vegetable-broccoli and/or carrots come to mind first. Leftovers make great open-faced hot sandwiches.
  • For soup, take broth and add some onions, carrots, celery, an extra bit of canned diced tomato (you can use almost anything for veggies depending on what you like/have on hand), some of the pork meat and posole (or hominy); simmer until tender and add shredded cabbage; cook another 15 minutes. Serve with hot tortillas and a salad for a complete meal.
  • Can also be made as beef machaca by using bottom (outside) round, chuck, or brisket; replace chicken bouillon powder with beef.



Serving: 426gCalories: 425.2kcalCarbohydrates: 4.3gProtein: 35.1gFat: 28.8gSaturated Fat: 9.9gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 477.8mgFiber: 0.8gSugar: 1.7g
Keyword Beginner Cook, Easy, Egg-free, Free Of…, Lactose-free, Meat, Mexican, One-Dish Meal, Pork, Savory, Spicy, Stove Top, Very Low Carbs
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Shara loves to experiment with different flavors and techniques when it comes to BBQ. She has been perfecting her craft for years and loves hosting backyard BBQs with friends & family. She often comes up with creative recipes that her guests rave about.