Last Updated on September 9, 2023 by My Back Kitchen
When it comes to Mexican street food, few dishes can compete with the mouthwatering delight of Authentic Pork Carnita Tacos. These tender, succulent bites of slow-cooked pork, packed with traditional Mexican flavors, are a fiesta for the taste buds. Originating from the state of Michoacán, Mexico, Pork Carnita Tacos have gained popularity worldwide for their simplicity, versatility, and irresistible taste.
The Art of Carnitas:
Carnitas, meaning “little meats” in Spanish, are made from pork that is slowly cooked until it becomes tender and incredibly flavorful. This cooking technique is traditionally achieved by simmering the pork in its own fat or lard until it reaches a melt-in-your-mouth consistency. The result is a combination of crispy, caramelized bits on the outside and succulent, juicy meat on the inside.
Selecting the Right Cut of Pork:
The key to achieving authentic Pork Carnitas lies in selecting the right cut of pork. Here at MBK, pork shoulder or pork butt (also known as pork shoulder butt) is the preferred choice due to its marbling and tenderness. These cuts have enough fat content to keep the meat moist and flavorful during the slow-cooking process.
Slow Cooking for Tender Perfection:
The magic of our Pork Carnitas lies in the slow cooking process. The pork is gently simmered in a flavorful broth, infused with spices like bay leaves, garlic, oregano, and orange juice. The low heat allows the pork to gradually break down, becoming tender and infused with the aromatic spices. As the cooking progresses, the liquid reduces, making for a rich sauce.
Crisping Up the Carnitas:
Once the pork is tender and cooked through, it’s time to crisp up the edges for added texture and flavor. The pork pieces are carefully removed from the cooking liquid and transferred to a baking sheet. They are then broiled until the edges become crispy and golden brown. This final step adds a delightful contrast to the tender meat, creating a symphony of textures.
Assembling the Tacos:
Our authentic Pork Carnita Tacos are typically served on warm, soft corn tortillas. The crispy and tender carnitas are placed on the tortillas and then topped with various accompaniments. Some of our favorites include chopped onions, fresh cilantro, tangy salsa verde or salsa roja, a squeeze of lime juice, and a sprinkling of crumbled queso fresco. The braising liquids that reduced while cooking can also be used for an extra punch of citrus flavor. These garnishes add brightness, acidity, and a burst of flavor that perfectly complements the rich and savory pork.
Authentic Pork Carnita Tacos are a celebration of Mexican culinary heritage, offering a symphony of flavors and textures. The slow-cooked pork, infused with aromatic spices and finished with a crisp exterior, creates a taste experience that is both satisfying and memorable. Whether enjoyed as street food or a homemade feast, Pork Carnita Tacos invite you to embrace the vibrant flavors of Mexico and indulge in a culinary fiesta. So, grab a taco, savor the deliciousness, and let our authentic Pork Carnita Tacos transport you to the bustling streets of Mexico. Enjoy!
Authentic Pork Carnita Tacos
- 4 pounds fatty pork shoulder cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 cups water
- 1 medium white onion thinly sliced
- 1 orange cut into 4 pieces
- 1/4 cup pork lard or vegetable oil
- 8 garlic cloves peeled
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano preferably Mexican, crumbled
- 2 teaspoons fine salt or 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 whole jalapeno
- 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
- Put all the ingredients in a wide 6-to 7-quart heavy pot (don’t worry if the pork is not completely covered with water) and bring to a boil, skimming the surface as necessary. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer vigorously, stirring occasionally, until the pork is fork-tender, about 1½ to 2 hours. Discard the orange pieces and bay leaves. Transfer the pork pieces to a bowl, cover, and let the liquid continue to reduce, about 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Transfer the pork and fat to an ovenproof dish, if necessary, and brown the pork, uncovered, in the oven for about 20 minutes. There’s no need to stir.