Oaxacan Thin Grilled Meats (Cecina Enchiladea)

In Spanish and Mexican cooking, cecina usually refers to jerky-like or salt-cured meats. In Oaxaca, it is almost always long, thin pork strips almost like ribbons of meat. Sometimes it is lightly seasoned with salt and lime juice before air-drying for a few hours. More often than not, it is air-dried in an Adobe marinade. The meat is cooked by grilling or tossing in a hot pan. You can’t walk by a street stand in Oaxaca with seeing pieces of cecina draped over clothes lines air drying.

Mexican Oaxacan Cecina Enchilada

Cecina Enchiladea- Oaxacan Thin Grilled Meat

Cut to the chase, so to speak, and cut these ribbons of chilled boneless pork chops in a food processor with a slicing attachment. These flavor-filled thin pork "ribbons" are great on Tlayudas, in tacos, or by themselves with grilled onions and refried black beans.
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Course: Antijitos, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican, Oaxacan
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Air drying and soaking dried peppers: 3 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 50 minutes
Servings: 4
Author: My Hungry Traveler


  • Wire racks
  • Baking pan
  • Blender
  • Large and small bowl
  • Large cast iron skillet
  • Wire mesh strainer


  • 1 lb Boneless pork chops
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp Lard or vegetable oil

Adobo para Cecina

  • 4 oz Guajillo chiles (about 16), tops and seeds removed
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 2 tbsp Cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp Dried thyme
  • 2 Dried avocado leaves, toasted
  • ½ tsp Dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp Ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp Ground cinnamon


Make Adobo Marinade

  • Boil a few cups of water. Wash and griddle-dry the chilies by placing 4-5 washed chilies in a cast-iron skillet heated over medium-high heat. Let them heat, turning occasionally with tongs. Cook 30 seconds on each side until the moisture is gone and their aroma has been released. Transfer them to a deep bowl and repeat. Pour boiling water into bowl and let peppers soak for at least 20 minutes.
  • Drain peppers and place into a blender along with the rest of the ingredients and ⅓ cup of water to facilitate blending. Process for about 5 minutes to get smooth paste, scraping down the sides every so often. Force the mixture into a bowl through a medium-mesh sieve.

Make Cecina Enchiladas

  • Trim any fat off boneless pork chops and chill. In a food processor with slicing disk, add a pork chop flat-side down and slice into thin strips. Place meat into a large bowl and slice more chops. Scrape Adobe marinade into meat bowl and cover fully. Lay slices flat on a wire rack over a baking tray. Leave in cool place for about 3 hours to air-dry. Remove the rack and stack meat on tray with plastic wrap between layers. Refrigerate overnight.
  • To cook, heat lard in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When it begins to smoke, lay 3 or 4 cutlets into the pan and sprinkle with a little salt. Cook about 2 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining cutlets. Serve hot with Frijoles Negros Colados.


Calories: 365kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 372mg | Potassium: 976mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 7522IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 3mg