Carmen’s Pozole Rojo with Pork and Guajillo Chile

Carmen Pozole rojo

It was always pozole rojo. Every year, around the time of our birthdays, my mom would ask me and siblings what we wanted to eat as our special birthday meal. For me, it was always her family-famous red pozole.

My mom is one of seven, so preparing a family-style meal like pozole was similar to operating as a full-service kitchen. By the time she was 10, my mom, Carmen, had her family’s pozole recipe logged and mastered as well as any 10-year-old sous chef could. The recipe is one that has been passed down since who knows when, with each generation leaving its mark. My mom’s is using a lata of maíz—a workaround that was essential when raising four kids, working a full-time job and taking care of my dad’s health for the last 20-something years. 

As I interviewed her for the recipe, I asked my mom what she loved most about pozole, to which she answered: “It brings me back to my childhood, and I remember all the time spent cooking with my mom and grandma. Because Mamá Nina isn’t with us anymore, making pozole is like getting to see her again.” 

My Mamá Nina’s philosophy in life and in the kitchen was to just jump in, whether it’s learning to flip tortillas on a hot comal or learning to make pozole, and I hope it’s how you approach this recipe, hungry reader. So from my great grandmother Ma Chucha, my grandmother Mamá Nina, my mom and me: échenle ganas y buen provecho.

(If you’re curious about this beloved dish’s culinary roots and—admittedly a bit gory—history and role in Aztec-Meztec sacrificial ritual, stop by here after you’ve checked out my mom’s recipe, below.)

What is your family’s go-to pozole? Submit your favorite recipe to our Familia Kitchen Contest to help us build a treasury of our best-loved pozoles. We’re excited to see (and taste) all the different flavors, colors and chile combinations you bring to this traditional dish.

Ready to make Carmen’s pozole rojo?

Carmen’s Pozole Rojo with Pork and Guajillo Chile

Recipe by Karina Corona Cuisine: Mexican


Prep time


Cooking time






  • La Salsa
  • 1.5 lbs. 1.5 guajillo chiles (or 2 bags)

  • 1 cup 1 water

  • La Carne
  • 10 lbs. 10 pork backbone (espinazo de puerco)

  • 1 head 1 garlic

  • 1.5 gallons 1.5 water

  • 4 Tbsp. 4 salt

  • El Maiz
  • 75 oz. 75 cooked white hominy (or 3 large tins)

  • Garnish
  • dried oregano

  • limes, cut in half

  • diced white onion 

  • shredded cabbage or iceberg lettuce


  • Start with the meat. Throw the 10 pounds of pork into a large vaporera or steamer pot sans rack (Carmen’s go-to is her trusty 40-quart pot). Add water, salt and the head of rinsed, unpeeled garlic.
  • Bring to a boil and then let the pot simmer on medium heat for about an hour—or until the pork is fully cooked.
  • As the meat cooks, prep the pozole’s salsa: Boil the guajillo chiles until they are tender. Once tender, add the chiles and a cup of water into a blender and blend fully. After blending, strain the sauce into another bowl, separating large chunks of skin or seeds. Set aside.
  • When the meat is done, or close to done, open the tins of hominy and drain. Add hominy and salsa to the vaporera so that the hominy, salsa and meat cook and the flavors infuse.
  • Bring the pozole to a boil and then let simmer on medium heat for about 30 mins.
  • Once the pozole is done, taste, salt (if needed), grab some bowls and serve.
  • For extra kick, garnish the pozole with dried oregano, diced onion, shredded cabbage or iceberg lettuce (dealer’s choice!)—and a big squirt of fresh lime juice.


  • Carmen’s top pick for tinned maíz is Juanita’s Foods Mexican Style Hominy. Working with a tin of cooked hominy means less time cooking and more time eating.
  • When selecting your pork, you’re going to want something that adds flavor while it cooks. Espinazo is Carmen’s go-to cut because it’s bone-in, so the bone marrow adds flavor.
  • Here’s another Carmen kitchen hack: Cooking with an unpeeled head of garlic will keep it from becoming too soggy and dissolving as the meat cooks.

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