Photo by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Tortas Ahogadas (Mexican Pork Sandwich)

Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
A hearty Mexican-style sandwich stuffed with braised or roasted pork and doused in a fiery red, in color,chile sauce!

Tortas ahogadas is a hearty Mexican-style sandwich, made popular in Jalisco, typically filled with braised pork. But, what makes this sandwich stand out is the way it is presented on a plate. A warm, sometimes very spice, chile de árbol sauce is ladled over the top to cover the torta ahogada completely. The literal translation for this very Mexican dish is "drowned sandwich." And make sure you find a good, hard roll to build this sandwich, so that it holds up to that warm chile sauce. The traditional bread is called a birote salado (salted roll), and if you cannot find that, bolillos can be found at any Mexican bakery. This is a delicious recipe for preparing sliders. Serve with extra napkins!


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  1. To a sauce pan, add guajillos, chile de to árbol, garlic, onion, Roma tomatoes and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 20 minutes.
  2. After 20 minutes, using a slotted spoon, transfer the salsa ingredients to the blender. Add 2 cups of cooking water, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Blend on high until smooth. Strain the sauce, using a wire-mesh strainer, into a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Preheat 2 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan for a few minutes. Pour in the strained sauce. Reduce the heat and continue cooking for 6-8 minutes. Keep warm on lowest setting.
  4. Slice the rolls open and fill with warm pork. Place in a shallow serving dish. Ladle each torta with the warm chile sauce. Garnish with thinly sliced red onions and avocado.

Chef Notes

When I prepare tortas ahogadas for friends and family, I like to prepare a few different sauces. The mild sauce would consist of mostly tomatoes with just a few chiles de árbol. It is prepared in the same method as instructed above. Or switch out the red tomatoes and dried chiles for green tomatillos and green serrano peppers.

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