These carnitas tacos have a sweet and spicy shredded pork with crispy bits on the edges, fresh and fiery tomato salsa, creamy avocado, salty cojita cheese, and fragrant cilantro all topped off with spicy mayo and lime.
Every summer there is a Caribbean Festival in North Vancouver. My girlfriends and I have been many times to listen to the music, dance and watch the parade. I love all of that, but I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that one of my favorite parts is sampling all the food! I absolutely love the ethnic flavors in all the booths. Curry chicken, roti, beef patties, jerk bbq to name some dishes, and all of it fresh and lovely. The last time I was there, I had the best tacos in my life! Shredded pork with a red salsa, crumbled cheese and some cilantro. So simple but unbelievably good!
After many tries, these carnitas tacos are pretty damn close to the ones I had at the festival. I could possibly be happy if these were all I ever had to eat for the rest of my life…
These carnitas tacos have slightly sweet and spicy shredded pork with some wonderful crispy bits on the edges, fresh and fiery (if you like it hot) tomato salsa, creamy avocado, salty crumbled cojita cheese, and fragrant cilantro all topped off with spicy mayo and lime. YUM! I know the spicy mayo is not a traditional addition, but I love a saucy taco and I love the creamy spicyness of the mayo mixed with the shredded pork. Feel free to omit the mayo if you like. These carnitas tacos are still really good with only the salsa as a sauce. That would make them even healthier and pretty clean as well.
Side Note about Meat for these Carnitas Tacos:
Debbie and I are firm believers in quality ingredients. Choosing quality meat is especially important for the health of our families and for the health of our planet. We always choose grass fed or free range meat and local whenever possible. We’re so thankful for companies like Butcher Box who sell quality grass fed and pasture raised meats and who truly care about the welfare of the animals. As an animal lover and a carnivore, that makes a BIG difference to me. What’s even better is that Butcher Box also has a fabulous price point and your order gets delivered directly to your door!
If you click the link below, you will get 10$ off your first order and free bacon!
We love how versatile this carnitas pork is too. We made these carnitas tacos, but we also used this pork for quesadillas, rice bowls and sandwiches! And it’s so easy to make. Just throw it in a pot and cook for 3 hours and its basically done. You could also use your crock pot if you like that better. OR…
Use an instant pot to make the pork. We absolutely love how tender and QUICK the instant pot makes our carnitas. Way more tender and juicy than either the oven or the slow cooker. To use an instant pot with this recipe, use the carnitas ingredients below, throw them in the instant pot, cook on high pressure for 110 mins, let it sit to release steam naturally for 30 mins then do a quick release, then follow the rest of the instructions as is. See our instant pot pulled pork recipe for step by step instructions on how to make the pork.
We like to make quite a large roast so that we always have leftovers to use throughout the week. You could even use this pork for nachos! If you do that with yours, can you invite us over? Please!
Useful Tools to Make Your Carnitas Tacos even Easier
- Enameled Dutch Oven – a pot like this makes this recipe a breeze! So pretty too. And reasonably priced!
- Cream of the Crop Dutch Oven – a lot more money, but great quality, soooooo pretty and it will last you a lifetime!
- Instant Pot – make these carnitas super tender and in record time! See our recipe for instant pot pulled pork and use the ingredients below but with the method from the recipe in the link.
- Tongs – these are a must for pulling hot meat out of the dutch oven
These carnita tacos have a sweet and spicy shredded pork with crispy bits on the edges, fresh and fiery tomato salsa, creamy avocado, salty cojita cheese, and fragrant cilantro all topped off with spicy mayo and lime.
FOR THE CARNITAS
- 1.5 kg pork butt roast (shoulder)
- 2 tbsp salt and pepper each
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 tbsp coconut oil or other oil
- 1 large onion , cut into quarters or eighths
- 5 cloves garlic , smashed
- 1 bottle beer (whatever you have)
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 oranges , juiced
- 2 limes , juiced
- 2 tbsp palm (or brown) sugar
- 1-2 chipotles in adobo sauce depends on how spicy you like things
FOR THE FRESH SALSA
- 2 tomatoes , roughly chopped
- 1 dried red Mexican chili , re-hydrated in water
- ½ large onion , roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 Handful of cilantro
- 1 lime juiced
- 1 tsp salt
FOR THE SPICY MAYO
- ½ cup mayo
- 1 lime , juiced
- 1 tbsp siracha sauce (or other hot sauce)
FOR EACH TACO
- 1 corn tortilla
- ¼ cup carnitas pork
- 2 tbsp fresh salsa
- ¼ avocado , diced or sliced
- 1 tbsp cojita cheese (or other crumbly cheese)
- sprig or two of cilantro
- 1 tbsp spicy mayo
MAKE THE CARNITAS
- Rinse your pork roast quite well and pat dry. Season the roast with salt, pepper and the cumin all over. Be generous with the salt and pepper.
- Turn your oven on to 350 degrees.
- Get out a big oven proof pot with a lid and put it on high heat on the stove. Put the couple tbsps of coconut oil in, let it get hot, and then brown the roast well on all sides. Turn the heat off.
Add the onion, garlic, and chipotle pepper to the pot. Pour in the beer, apple cider vinegar and squeeze in the lime and orange juice. You can put in the peel as well, but I found that the lime peel gave a tiny hint of a bitter flavor that I didn’t care for. Cover the pot with the lid and slide it in the oven. Cook for 3 hours or until the roast is fall apart tender.
- When its ready, remove the roast from the pot, let it cool for a bit and shred the meat, removing most of the fat at the same time. Place the shredded meat on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet.
Turn your oven on to broil and when the broiler is nice and hot, place the tray of meat under the broiler for a few mins or until the meat starts to get crispy and caramelized in some places. If your tray is quite full, you might want to stir the meat a bit so that some other parts can get crispy. Be careful not to let it burn.
Set the meat aside or store in a big tuperware until you are ready to use it.
MAKE THE SALSA
- Place all the ingredients for the salsa in a blender or food processor and whiz it up good till it becomes a thick sauce. Give it a taste and make sure it doesn’t need more salt, lime, or cilantro.
Set aside or store in a mason jar or tupperware till you are ready to use it.
MAKE THE SPICY MAYO
- Mix the mayo , lime juice and hot sauce in a bowl or shake it in a jar. Add a little more lime if it needs to get a little thinner consistency. I like to keep it in a squeeze bottle so its easy to squirt on the tacos.
TO MAKE THE TACOS
- Lay a corn tortilla flat. Add the pork carnita meat, spoon on the salsa, sprinkle on the cheese, avocado, and a little cilantro if desired and then drizzle a little spicy mayo on top. Fold it up and eat it!