Behind the Scenes

Learn Chef Liz’s Secret to Homemade Pork Carnitas Tacos

Chef’s Counter: expert info from our culinary pros.

Chef Liz shares her expertise on making the most incredible pork carnitas taco dinner from scratch, including juicy roasted pork, multiple chile salsas and freshly pressed tortillas. After making this, you’ll want every night to be taco night.

Pork Carnitas
4lb. Pork shoulder (cut into 1.5 inch pieces)
1.5 cups chicken stock (no sodium)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves

1. Cut pork shoulder into 1.5 inch pieces on cutting board
2. Place cut pork in cast iron dutch oven (we used 5 quart size) with remaining ingredients
3. Cover and place in 325 degree oven for 2.5 to 3 hours

Once your pork is roasting, it’s a great time to start working on all your other toppings for tacos!

Chipotle Salsa
3 oz. dried ancho chiles
1.5 oz. dried chipotle chiles
1 medium white onion (chopped)
5 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon salt
⅓ cup of vinegar

1. Toast chiles in a dry cast iron skillet on high heat until fragrant
2. Remove from skillet and allow around 3 minutes for them to cool, off heat
3. Remove stems and shake out seeds from peppers once cooled
4. Combine peppers + 1.5 cups of water and onion, garlic, salt in a pot and bring to a boil
5. Turn down the heat and let simmer until chiles are soft (about 15 – 20 minutes)
6. Let cool and be sure mixture is not too hot (about 15 minutes)
7. Blend until smooth and strain out any excess seeds into a bowl
8. Stir in up to ⅓ cup of vinegar to salsa

Roasted Salsa Verde
8 oz. tomatillos
2 serrano chiles
1.5 medium white onion (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (still in their skins)
1 tablespoon of honey
1 teaspoon of salt
Cilantro to finish

1. Add serrano chiles, 1.5 onion and garlic cloves (Still in their skins) to a dry cast iron skillet over high heat
2. Once ingredients are a bit roasted and charred, remove them from skillet and set aside in a large bowl to cool
3. Once chiles are cooled, cut the tops and stems from chiles and discard seeds to lessen the heat
4. Husk and clean the tomatillos and add them to dry cast iron skillet, over high heat
5. Let them char and blacken a bit on the stove for 5-8 minutes then add them to large bowl with roasted chiles, garlic and onion
6. Let cool before adding to your blender (about 15 minutes)
7. Once blended, mix in honey and 1 teaspoon of salt
8. Right before serving, finish it off with chopped cilantro

Pickled Jalapeño
¾ cup water
¾ cup white vinegar
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
5 – 6 jalapenos

1. Combine equal parts water and vinegar + garlic, sugar, salt into pot on the stove and bring to a boil
2. Slice the jalapeños while mixture is heating up
3. Once ingredients are boiling, remove from heat and stir in sliced jalapenos
4. Transfer jalapeños and their liquid to a mason jar and let sit to pickle in the fridge

Reminder: to check on your pork carnitas in the oven
1. After the 2.5 – 3 hours of roasting, remove dutch oven from oven and start to pull apart the pork with 2 forks
2. Remove cinnamon sticks and bay leaves
3. Heat oil in a hot skillet and use tongs to add carnitas to finish off the pork with a nice crust
4. Set aside on baking sheet or plate and cover with foil until ready to serve

Homemade Tortillas
1.5 cups masa harina
1 cup of warm water

1. Combine masa harina and warm water together into a large mixing bowl
2. Add water slowly and combine as you go to see it come together in a ball
3. You want it to be hydrated enough that the masa harina takes in as much water as possible
4. It should form a stiff ball, the cover with plastic wrap and let sit for about 30 minutes
5. After a half hour, you can add more water if the ball has cracked, then add it in until the mixture is soft, but not overly wet
6. Dip your fingers in water (to keep moist) to roll small balls of masa harina
7. Set them aside on a baking sheet and cover again (as you go) with a clean, dry towel
8. Grab your tortilla press if you have! (and we highly encourage you pick one up) and line it with two pieces of parchment paper so the dough doesn’t stick
9. If you don’t have a press, you can also rolls out the balls as well
10. To finish tortillas, add them to a dry pan over high heat and cook for about 30 seconds, you should see the edges start to come up (the tortillas will tell you when they’re ready to flip!)
11. Using a spatula (or your fingers) carefully flip the tortilla and cook until it eases off the skillet, about 20-30 seconds more
12. Transfer to a tortilla warmer to stay warm (also works great to lay them over each other on a baking sheet and cover with foil.

Assemble your Pork Carnitas Tacos
1. Add roasted pork to the tortilla shells and combine with any of the above salsas and toppings you’d like!
2. We also like to add a bit of chopped pineapple, sliced radishes, chopped onions, sliced avocados, lime wedges, fresh cilantro and your pickled jalapeños to have handy for serving
3. Enjoy!


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