Warning… Please made these pork carnitas tacos using pork lard. DO NOT USE normal vegetable oil or you’ll probably catch your kitchen on fire when adding the orange juice and coke.
Pork carnitas tacos are a Mexican street food favourite. For that matter they’re a Californian street food favourite too.
Two of the taco trucks where I grew up in California did these really well. They made their pork carnitas tacos just like this too.
In today’s health-conscious world, pork carnitas tacos are often made by simmering the pork shoulder (pork butt) in water.
Although you can get good results doing that, pork carnitas tacos just aren’t the same. The meat must be cooked in pork lard!
A word about the coke…
The traditional way to make this is with cane sugar or Mexican coke which is made with cane sugar. Most coke is made with corn syrup and there are a lot of people who say only use Mexican coke.
I used regular coke for this recipe and it worked just fine. In California, when I make this recipe I used Mexican coke. I really can’t notice any difference.
You can make the pork part of this pork carnitas tacos recipe one or two days in advance. Then just heat the meat up in a pan or the microwave before serving.
How you serve your pork carnitas tacos is up to you.
I served mine with homemade tomatillo salsa, diced red onions and cilantro.
All that piled high on fried corn tortillas!
If you like this recipe, you might like to try some of these too…
Grilled fish tacos
Shredded beef tacos
Pico de gallo
Pork Carnitas Tacos
- 3 pounds (1.5kg) skinless, boneless pork butt (or shoulder)
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 2 tsp dried oregano (Mexican oregano is best for this)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 large white onion , cut into wedges
- 8 cloves garlic , smashed
- 1/2 cup (125ml) orange juice
- 1 cup (250ml) coke (don't use diet coke)
- 1 cup (250ml) milk
- 3 bay leaves
- Juice of two limes
- 16 corn tortillas - lightly fried in oil
- Salsa of choice
- Diced red onion to ganish
- Cut the pork into large chunks and sprinkle with the salt. Melt the lard in a large pan and the add the pork.
- Fry in the hot oil until lightly browed. About ten minutes should do.
- Now add the black pepper, oregano and cumin and stir well before adding the onion and garlic. Again stir it all up to combine.
- Pour in the coke, milk and orange juice and add just enough water to cover if needed. Add the bay leaves.
- Simmer over a low heat for 2.5 to 3 hours.
- When the meat is fork tender, remove it from the liquid and chop it up into small pieces.
- Heat a frying pan over medium high heat and fry the meat until crispy on the exterior. Squeeze the lime juice in.
- Top your tortillas with the pork carnitas and add your salsa of choice and the diced red onions.