Feasting on Ecuadorian Horneado de Chancho


Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I thought I would make a special dish that is the Ecuadorian equivalent to the American turkey—hornado de chancho. This incredibly succulent pork dish takes days of tender loving care to prepare.  Hornado de chancho means “roasted pig” and you can find them in most of the picanterías, or markets in the mountainous parts of Ecuador. This pork dish is traditionally made by marinating the pork in chicha, a fermented corn drink, for several days and then baking the pork in a wood burning clay oven.  Chica was originally the prized commodity of the Incas and still often used by the inhabitants of the Central Andes. If I was home in San Antonio, I would use my Dad’s green egg to roast the pork. This recipe is great for a special occasion where you will be serving many people.


            There are many different ways to make this recipe your own. Some people will add panela (unrefined whole cane sugar), cinnamon and even peppers or ají rojo.  Traditionally it is served with a potato pattie called llapingachos and pickeled onions with tomato, cilantro and chica de jora. Some other common preferences are  mote (hominy corn), fried plantains, avocado, curtido, and agrio. If you want to spice it up a bit, serve if with aji criollo on the side. If you add whole potatoes during the last hour of roasting, the potatoes cooked in the hornado sauce and make the most heavenyl baked potatoes ever. If you run into the problem of too small of a roasting pan to include the potatoes, just remove the pork after it is finished and add the potatoes in the leftover juices. Add the potatoes in and continue to roast will the pork cools.



  • 7 pounds pork shoulder

  • 12 oz. beer (as substitute to the chicha )

  • 3-4 sprigs of scallion (green onion)

  • 1 garlic bulb (approximately 12 cloves)

  • 1 bitter orange (or 1 large Meyer lemon)

  • 2 teaspoons achiote/annatto

  • 1 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

  • 1 tablespoon salt


  • Clean the pork shoulder with water, dry well and place into a roasting pan that fits in your refrigerator.


  • With a whisk or blender prepare a marinade with all the ingredients except the beer.


  • Then “bath” the pork shoulder in the marinade. Make some incisions with a knife to make sure you season it thoroughly—even underneath the skin.


  • Pour the beer over the pork and continue massaging it (I told you it needed some TLC!) to make sure beer and marinade cover every side of it. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate skin side up until the next day.


  • Pre heat oven to 325°F and bake until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F. Pork generally takes about half hour per pound to cook, but since you will be cooking it at low temperature, it may take longer. Using a big spoon make sure to baste the meat with the fat juice in the bottom of the tray at least 2-3 times during cooking time.


 Here’s a true Ecuadorian preparing this wonderful feast–check it out!

what I’m cooking to tonight:








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