Pork Shoulder Braised with Oranges – Puerco en Naranja

Puerco en Naranja - Pork Braised in Oranges
Pork Cooked in Orange Juice

I’m always looking for flavor combinations I’ve never tried before. The less ingredients there are, the more appealing it is because tasting how the different components complement each other can help inspire ideas and creativity in the kitchen. In this recipe, pork shoulder is slowly braised in orange juice, oregano, and garlic resulting in a savory combination of sweet, salty, and a hint of sourness.

recipe adapted from Diana Kennedy’s Essential Cuisines of Mexico

Puerco en Naranja
Pork Cooked in Orange Juice

5 pounds pork shoulder butt
5 garlic cloves, crushed
salt, to taste
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
12 peppercorns
zest of 1 orange (optional)
3 oranges


  • In the original recipe, the pork is roasted in an oven but I prefer adding a little water and braising on the stovetop.
  • The braising liquid will be reduced to create a sauce so use a light hand when seasoning the pork.

Crush the garlic, salt, oregano, and peppercorns. Moisten with the juice and zest of 1 orange then rub the mixture into the pork. Set aside for 1 hour or leave in the refrigerator overnight.

Place the pork in a dutch oven or heavy casserole and moisten with the juice of a second orange. Include the orange rinds in the pot. Add enough water to immerse half of the pork. Bring to a boil over high heat on the stovetop, then lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer while covered with a tight lid. Braise for 2 to 3 hours. Let cool to room temperature.

Pork in Oranges in dutch oven

To Serve:

Reduce the braising liquid over high heat until thickened. Feel free to add more fresh orange juice to the liquid to freshen the sauce. While the sauce is reducing, thinly slice the meat then broil until slightly charred to help develop more flavor. Drizzle the sauce over the meat and add thinly sliced oranges if desired. The sweetness of the sliced oranges seems to play well with its more savory cousin in the reduced sauce.

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14 Responses to “Pork Shoulder Braised with Oranges – Puerco en Naranja”

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  2. Pamela says:

    Have you ever considered cooking your pork shoulder in a pressure cooker? I’ve made several shoulder roasts that way and think they turned out great in a pressure cooker.

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