It’s Taco Tuesday! And since just about everyone loves tacos, I thought I’d do a Taco Tuesday post every now and then. I’m hoping to get a little creative down the line, but for today, I’ll start with one of our family favorites… Carnitas tacos.
I am a huge Mexican food fan. I love it all… from the fattening, cheesy enchiladas, rice and beans combo plate (and that would be after the big ol’ basket of chips and salsa and a margarita!) to a more healthful grilled fish taco. Spice doesn’t scare me away either. Unfortunately, I haven’t always been able to find good Mexican food in every place we’ve lived, believe me I’ve tried. So I’ve learned to make a few dishes at home that I enjoy. Carnitas is one of those dishes.
This recipe produces tender, flavorful nuggets of meat that melt in your mouth. This is my go-to carnitas recipe. The meat is delicious by itself on a plate with rice and beans or as a filler for tacos or quesadillas. I’ve even served these tender morsels with toothpicks as an appetizer with guacamole to dip the chunks in. Everyone loves it! Leftover Carnitas go great in quinoa bowls too!
It’s a simple recipe. Just cut up the pork into chunks and put in a roasting pan with some spices and liquid. I used water but my friend told me she uses beer which I think sounds like a fantastic tip. I’m going to make sure I have some good Mexican beer on hand next time to try it with! Once the meat is cooked, you can keep it in chunks like I have, or if you prefer, go ahead and shred it. And make sure to drizzle some of the leftover juices on it. Don’t want to waste all that good flavor!
- 4-5 lb. pork butt or shoulder
- ¾ C. water (or beer)
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. chile powder
- 1 tsp. chipotle chile powder (or ancho chile powder)
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- small corn or flour tortillas
- diced avacado or guacamole
- chopped cilantro
- lime wedges
- crumbled queso fresco
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Trim external fat from meat and cut meat into cubes, about an inch in size. Place meat in roasting pan in a single layer. Combine water with remaining spices. Pour over meat and distribute until meat is well coated. Cover tightly with foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking another 45-60 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated and meat begins to brown. Remove bay leaves prior to serving.
- To serve as tacos, warm a tortilla, add some carnita meat and avocado or guacamole, garnish with cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice and some crumbled queso fresco (or other favorite cheese)