There is something about summertime that leaves me craving tacos. I have no idea where this comes from, but the combination of fresh tortillas, pulled meat, avocado, and salsa does not leave my brain from mid-May through early September. Sure, I'd consume tacos any time of the year, but during these summer months I could eat them every single week. Also, we have a thing for pork in this household. Whether it be bacon, or pulled bbq, or thick bone-in chops...I dare say that pork is our favorite meat. So combine tacos with pork and you'll find a very happy Andrea chowing down, claiming 'this is the best meal, ever'. Not only because I love that particular combination of flavors, but because slow-cooked carnitas tacos are easy, and don't heat up my kitchen, and make enough quantity to have leftovers for a couple of days. On these brutally hot Virginia summer evenings that is EXACTLY the kind of recipe to do a little food dance for.
We made these tacos for Tommy + Kristin's baby party a couple of months ago (and, btw, Olive has arrived!). Ever since I've been craving them, talking about making carnitas tacos each week following. We finally picked up a beautiful pork shoulder (or butt...boston butt that is...I know, its confusing) from Belmont Butchery last week, and there was no way that carnitas weren't happening after 3 months of thinking about them. And oh, were they good. SO good, that I think they'll have to happen again soon. Maybe next week, even...
These tortillas came from La Michoacana. C-villians...if you haven't been there yet, GO. Right NOW. Everybody else, see if you can find fresh tortillas for your carnitas tacos, they will make all the difference.
serves 8 (about 32 small tacos)
- (1) 6 pound bone-in pork butt (also called pork shoulder)
- 2 tbsp coarse salt
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 8 whole cloves garlic, smashed
- 4 chipotle peppers (canned, in adobo sauce)
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 cup orange juice
- Trim the excess fat from the meat and discard. Place all ingredients in your slow-cooker and set to LOW. Cook for 8 hours. Meat is done when it literally falls off of the bone. When it is cool enough to handle, lift the meat from the juices and place on a large platter or cutting board. Remove the bone and shred the meat to bite-size pieces.
- Skim the fat from the juices and keep as a medium for re-heating the meat. To reheat, place carnitas in a baking dish and pour juices over top. Cover with foil and re-heat in oven. The juices are also really delicious as a sauce over the carnitas. It will be spicier than the meat itself, so be careful to taste-test.
- For tacos, serve with small corn tortillas, sour cream, lime, avocado, fresh salsa, and queso fresco.