Chata Chilorio

Cruising in Mexico?  If so, here’s a great product that I was told about by Verena (Pacific Sailors) and then a few more friends have told me about it.

Basically, it’s pre-cooked meat in a bag that does NOT need to be refrigerated until it’s opened.  Each bag contains about a quarter-kilo of meat (a half pound), making it good for 2 or 3 servings.  It also comes in cans although I’m told that the bags have a somewhat better consistency (sort of like tuna in cans versus pouches).

Okay, you’re saying, so how do I use it (I know that was my biggest question when someone told me about a great local product)?  It’s got a little spice to it already, so don’t add too much more.  Try it — and the related turkey (pavo) and beef (carne de res) products, too.

  • Tacos
  • Enchiladas
  • Add to scrambled eggs, omelets or quiche
  • Mexican Layered Dip
  • Barbecue sandwiches (similar to pulled pork sandwiches)
  • Sauté with potatoes and onions

Obviously, this is great for people without refrigeration — either in the bag or canned.  But actually, almost anyone cruising Mexico is going to have days when it’s just plain hot out.  Since the Chata meats are already cooked, they take very little time on the stove before they’re ready to eat — and that translates to a lot less heat in the boat.

Verena reports that it’s fairly inexpensive at Costco in Baja — about $3 for a 3-pack — and slightly more at other groceries and on the mainland, but still not expensive.

I’ve looked all over for this in the US — either online or at a store near me.  I understand it’s available in some supermarkets in southern California, but I haven’t seen it in Illinois.  Online, it’s expensive.  Really expensive — over $10 per bag plus shipping.  So while it would be a great cruising and camping food, I don’t think I’ll be buying it in the US . . . or at least not until the price comes down a bit!

Have you used the bagged or canned chilorio?  What other dishes have you found to use it in?

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  • Candy Ann Williams on Facebook
    Posted at 11 December 2012 Reply

    I don’t remember ever seeing this. Wish I had-when we get back down I will definitely look for it-thanks.

  • JayTami Klassen on Facebook
    Posted at 11 December 2012 Reply

    On a similar note, lap xuong (Chinese sausage). Don’t have to refrigerate until opened, either. Viet-style fried rice has this in it, and I get it at the Asian markets. There’s also a version with chicken, a little lighter. see pic×846.jpg

  • The Boat Galley on Facebook
    Posted at 11 December 2012 Reply

    Ooh, that sounds good. Thanks for posting — the next time I’m in a larger town with an Asian market, I’ll look for it.

  • PacificSailors
    Posted at 11 December 2012 Reply

    Here is how we like to cook up “bagged meat”. It’s amazingly yummy! It’s a dish from Mexico’s state of Sinaloa (where most of Mexico’s best food seems to come from).

  • Jeanne
    Posted at 13 December 2012 Reply

    We keep several bags of it on board for quick meals, topping a tostada, add ing to spaghetti or filling sopes for a potluck. The meat and a bit of media crema sour cream….. yumm!

  • Kyra
    Posted at 11 January 2013 Reply

    We have been using this product while we’ve been here in Mexico – it was great to have ut ub stock when we spent the summer in the northern Sea of Cortez – we eat so much fish that it was nice to have a little something different once in a while. We used it in homemade macaroni and cheese and already mentioned uses above. Great stuff.

  • Allan Cobb
    Posted at 07 August 2013 Reply

    A while back, I saw a similar product at Costco in the states. It was a 3 pack of cooked ground beef. Each bag contained 1 kilo of cooked meat! Another lady was also looking at a package, turned to me, and said, “Neat idea but what would I do with a kilo of meat when I opened the bag!”

  • Monika Bradley
    Posted at 07 July 2014 Reply

    Just today I found something similar in my local store for under $3. “Rosarita spicy seasoned beef crumbles” product of Brasil. And for me the strong possibility that it is gluten free is a bonus

  • Holly B.
    Posted at 18 November 2014 Reply

    I came here hoping to find new uses for Chilorio. Haven’t found anything inspiring yet, but I CAN offer a recipe I use frequently. It’s a kind of spaghetti that uses canned Chilorio I sometimes use tuna in water instead) and it has the benefit of being relatively inexpensive, quick to fix, and filling. It makes about 4 generous servings.

    Have all ingredients ready to go, including a cup or two of water.

    First I get a bag of Fideo (in Mexico, “angel hair pasta” in the States) which is about 6 oz.
    Into a big frypan with enough oil to coat each piece. Fry it till it begins to brown, but have other ingredients ready, because it can scorch fast after that.
    After it’s brown, dump in an onion, diced and mix well, till they begin browning. If scorching of the pasta begins, don’t wait till the onions are brown. Stoves and pans can give different results. You can add water, if need be, to stop scorching, but try not to. The water comes later.

    Tomatoes, chopped, shrooms and slices of pickled jalapeno are optional. Add them now.

    Simmer briefly, then add 1-2 cups of tomato puree and mix well. Add 1-2 cans (tuna size) of Chilorio and break it up, stirring it all well. Then add water, until the liquid level puts the solid ingredients underwater just a bit. Season to taste with garlic, pepper, liquid smoke and oregano. Mix well, then simmer, covered, on low heat for 15 minutes or so, but check that it doesn’t stick in the pan. If it does, add a bit more water. As it simmers, the pasta takes up water, which is what it should do. But not enough to stick. When done, it should be thickened, not runny.

    I sometimes add chopped cheese (usually Mexican manchego; you can use jack) and mix till it gets melty.

    I said inexpensive, but that may not apply to people in the States, where I understand it is more often than not unavailable. So sad! I’ve lived in Mexico for 20 years and love it here. So many things are actually better than back home.

    Chliorio is also good in tacos, enchiladas or burritos. Mix it with other desired ingredients and nuke it hot. Then prepare the tortillas for the tacos, enchiladas or burritos and fill them. I like to buy cans of refried beans, add crumbled bacon, minced pickled jalapenos, minced onions and chopped manchego, mixing in a can of Chilorio. Nuke it all together till hot. I serve the tortillas separately, so people can roll them with the mixture or break up the tortillas and eat separately. In addition, I include side bowls of sour cream and homemade salsa picante. YUM!

    BTW, FYI, guacamole recipes that have mayo in them are NOT Mexican. The mayo is cloying in the mouth. I just make fresh salsa picante and mix some in a bowl with peeled avocados, breaking them up to the desired size. Food of the gods! While some people like bigger pieces of tomato and onion in their salsa, I find making it in a whizzer takes only about 5-10 minutes. Don’t forget to include chopped cilantro with almost any Mexican dish. You up there have one advantage I don’t. I have to purify my cilantro, and yours probably doesn’t have parasites. Ours does – almost always. All tropical soils will put parasites on produce grown close to the ground. Your disadvantage is that you can’t purify your produce, because you can’t buy the drops that are used all over Mexico. Since the drops are totally harmless, you might want to inquire why you can’t buy them. Even without parasites, purified produce keeps longer in the fridge. It has a multitude of other uses, too. These drops wiped out cholera 50 years ago, and Mexico no longer has a problem with it.

  • Marco A
    Posted at 03 March 2015 Reply

    Try them in quesadillas! It beats having just the plain chesse quesadilla and its a tad more filling

  • Neil M
    Posted at 19 May 2015 Reply

    Walmart online has the Old El Paso stuffers, and a Libbey’s ground beef in pouch:


  • akenyon
    Posted at 11 October 2016 Reply

    Bought some packages of Chata Chilorio for a food drive today. At the local Walmart in Bolingbrook, IL, paid $3.94 each. Item number 750102353502 (8.8 oz, shredded seasoned pork). Was located in the aisle with the refried beans, Spanish rice, taco shells, etc.

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