Mexican slow cooker Carne Adobada is beef or pork simmered with adobo sauce, onions, and jalapeños until tender. The meat cooks low and slow in a crock pot and comes out fall off the bone tender every time. Perfect for tacos, quesadillas, or rice bowls.
I distinctly remember my first dish of Carne Adobada.
It was eons ago, maybe 15 years?
Armando and I had gone to Dallas to visit his family and we met his father at a Mexican restaurant in Oak Cliff; the hub of Mexican culture and the part of Dallas where Armando grew up.
His father ordered Carne Adobada and what came was a tangle of braised beef, onions, and peppers in a red chile sauce that made me regret whatever it was that I ordered.
I must’ve been looking at it longingly because before I knew it my Father-In-Law had made me a taco with the red-tinged meat and laid it on my plate.
It was rich, flavorful, with distinct hints of honey, vinegar, and dried chiles but not spicy. Along with the sautéed peppers and onions it made for one stellar taco.
mexican carne adobada vs new mexican carne adovada
Turns out Carne Adobada is usually made with pork, not beef and has a very popular cousin in New Mexican cuisine.
The New Mexican version is spelled Adovada and is one of the most cherished dishes in the state.
It features, as you might guess, New Mexican chiles and pork. Depending on the cook can either have the consistency of a pork stew or cooked down further until the pork is tender and the sauce is thicker.
Mexican Carne Adobada (confusingly enough also sometimes spelled Adovada) is pork, and sometimes beef, cooked in Adobo Sauce.
what is adobo sauce?
You might be familiar with Adobo sauce, as the sweet and sour red chile powder sauce canned chipotles are usually packed in.
It is a popular condiment throughout Mexico but, just to make things confusing has nothing to do with Chicken Adobo made in Filipino cuisine.
Anyway, Mexican adobo can refer to either a dried chili powder spice rub for meats or a sauce made with red chiles (usually guajillos and anchos) and a distinct tang from vinegar.
You can most certainly make your own adobo sauce, you go-getter you! But there are plenty of really tasty prepared adobo pastes out there so you don’t necessarily have to.
I like to use the Doña Maria brand because it is reliably good and pretty easy to find.
how to make carne adobada
While not traditional, I add a few tomatillos to the braise.
They add a nice touch of sour so characteristic of a good adobada and also act as a tenderizer, making the meat ultra succulent even after a long simmer in the slow cooker.
Like I mentioned, most Adobada recipes are made with pork but I wanted to recreate the delicious dish I enjoyed with my Father-in-Law in Dallas so this recipe used beef.
If you’d like, substitute the same amount of pork shoulder for the beef in this recipe.
Making it in the slow cooker is super easy, just blend the sauce together, brown the meat then add the meat, veggies, and sauce to the slow cooker. Cover and cook until it is falling apart tender.
how to make on the stove
If you don’t have a slow cooker, just blend all the sauce ingredients together, brown the meat like instructed and remove it from the Dutch oven.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and brown the veggies in the leftover fat from browning the meat until they are deeply golden and caramelized, about 15 minutes.
Add the meat and sauce back to the pot, along with an extra 2 cups of broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until the meat is tender, about 2-3 hours.
how to serve
Carne adobada makes exquisite tacos and this recipe makes a ton so you could create little taco bar here by just setting out the slow cooker and serve with warm corn tortillas, sliced radish, some guacamole, and a nice crunchy slaw for your next party.
But we also like to eat it in rice bowl form, with black beans, avocado slices, some fresh cilantro, and even a few pieces of sweet pineapple, and if you can find some chili-lime cashews those are pretty great sprinkled over the top too!
more slow cooker recipes to try
- Slow Cooker Beef Tacos with Mango Citrus Salsa
- Spicy Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup
- Honey-Lime Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
- How To Make Chilorio In The Slow Cooker
- Vegan Slow Cooker Coconut Milk Dulce de Leche
- Crock Pot Borracho Beans
- Caldo de Pollo Crock Pot Recipe
Let me know how you like this Slow Cooker Carne Adobada recipe! I really do want to hear how it worked out for you. When you try it, please snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @holajalapeno and #holajalapeno so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating) ! Also, make sure to sign up for my weekly newsletter, lots of good stuff there too!
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