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Costa Rican pork is an important Costa Rican side dish as you can use it in all kinds of recipes. Traditional Costa Rican food doesn’t generally use as much pork as it does fish, beef or chicken, but especially at Christmas, pork is a food we eat a lot.
Costa Rican Pork Recipe
(printable recipe below)
pork meat cut into large chunks
white or yellow onion, roughly chopped
cilantro, roughly chopped (leaves and stems)
red bell pepper, roughly chopped
garlic cloves, peeled
carrot roughly chopped
celery, roughly chopped
achiote (see product recommendation below)
Cut pork into large chunks for shredding later.
Roughly chop the vegetables.
Brown the meat in the pot, and then add the rest of the ingredients. Cover the pot.
If cooking on the stovetop, simmer on low for 2-3 hours until everything is super tender. Gently shred meat.
If slow cooker, cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours. Shred.
If using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, cook, sealed on high pressure for 30 minutes. You can then release the pressure or leave on warm.
Stir in achiote until pork is the desired color and there are no chunks of achiote in the meat. Shred and use the pork liberally in your tamales!
In general, apart from the Christmas tamales I mentioned before, most pork eaten in Costa Rica is a pork belly made into chicharrones. This is part of a very popular dish called the Costa Rican chifrijo.
It’s essentially Costa Rican rice, red kidney beans, chicharrones, pico de gallo and tortilla chips in the same bowl. It’s delicious. You could easily substitute this shredded pork recipe for the fried pork chicharrones in the traditional chifrijo recipe.
What type of pork should I buy?
I would use a pork shoulder or pork ribs but into large chunks and then shredded.
Where can I buy Salsa Lizano?
I buy Salsa Lizano on Amazon or at a local Hispanic grocery store.
What Type of Pork Should I Buy?
Good question- I think this is usually made with dark pork meat- otherwise the meat tends to dry out and doesn’t taste as good inside of the tamale.
However, I also make pork carnitas quite often with the pork shoulder meat that I buy at Sam’s, and it comes out really nice when I shred it. You could also use a pork roast.
The bottom line is that by the time you shred this up and put it inside a tamale and then recook it, it will taste great. It ‘s more about the spices and flavor of the pork than the cut of meat.
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- 2-3 lbs pork meat cut into large chunks (see notes)
- 3 TBSP Salsa Lizano
- 1/2 white or yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup of cilantro, roughly chopped (leaves and stems)
- 1/2 red pepper, roughly chopped
- 2-3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 TB salt
- 1 carrot roughly chopped
- 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
- 6-8 cups of water
- 2-3 TBSP achiote (see product recommendation below)
- Put everything into a pot and cover. If cooking on the stovetop, boil for 2-3 hours until everything is super tender. Gently shred meat.
- If slow cooker, cook on low 6-8 hours or on high 4-6 hours. Shred.
- If using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, cook, sealed on high pressure for 20 minutes. You can then release the pressure or leave on warm.
- Stir in achiote until pork is desired color and there are no chunks of achiote in the meat.
- Shred and use the pork liberally in your tamales!
Welcome! I’m Christa, a Spanish teacher married to a handsome Costa Rican and mother of two bilingual daughters. We’ve spent over 25 years living in and traveling to Costa Rica with our daughters, and this website is my love letter to all things Costa Rica- and to bilingual parenting too. You can read my full story here. Thanks for stopping by!