Carnitas Tacos


Once upon a time, I used to hate Mexican food.

I couldn't figure it out--it all looked so tasty, but every time I put a taco in my mouth it made me want to vom. I finally figured out the reason for my dislike in college, when one of my roommates made a large batch of homemade salsa and consequently our apartment reeked of body odor. CILANTRO. Of course--smells like armpits, tastes like soap.


Needless to say, I absolutely love Mexican food now, as long as it stays far far away from that disgusting green herb. Like carnitas tacos, for example, which we made the other night for a family Mexican fiesta. Holy cow, delicious. Especially with pickled red onions, slaw, and some mojito popsicles for dessert (a baby favorite). All highly recommended--just don't forget to leave the cilantro out.


By the way, Husband says if you've never tried pork shoulder before, you have to try this. "It's like pork crack... delicious and oh so addictive." Oh, Husband...

Carnitas Tacos

Carnitas Tacos
Loosely adapted from David Lebovitz

4-5 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch chunks, trimmed of excess fat
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
Your favorite taco fixings (we like queso fresco, pickled red onions, pickled jalapenos, lime wedges, and slaw)

Put pork in a large Dutch oven. Add salt, spices, and garlic and then cover the pork with water until just barely covered. Bring water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for two hours without touching the meat.

After two hours has elapsed, increase temperature to medium-high and keep cooking for about 45 minutes, turning meat occasionally, until liquid has evaporated (you will still have rendered fat, but other cooking liquid should be gone). Let pork fry in the fat for a few minutes, or until pork has browned at the edges. Turn pieces carefully to brown other side. Once it has browned on both sides, take meat out and place on a large cutting board. Shred carefully with two forks into bite-sized pieces. Serve immediately taco fixings!