[an error occurred while processing this directive] Carnitas de Puerco (Pulled Pork Tacos) - Steven and Chris
Carnitas de Puerco (Pulled Pork Tacos)

Carnitas de Puerco (Pulled Pork Tacos)


A traditional dish with all the fixin's, Chef Rosa Maria Tortorici's pulled pork tacos are perfect for the whole family.

Carnitas de Puerco


3-pound piece boneless pork shoulder - cut in half
1 pound pork belly
3 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup bitter orange juice or equal parts lime and orange juice
2 cups water
1 bay leaf


Combine salt, cumin, black pepper, chili powder and ancho chili powder in a small bowl and rub seasoning all over both pork shoulder and belly. Heat the oil in a heavy medium pot over medium-high and sear until brown.

Remove pot from heat and deglaze the bottom of the pot by adding the water and juice; scrape brown bits from bottom of pan with a wooden spoon (you may have to remove pork briefly to do this and return it to the pot immediately). Add bay leaf to liquid. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, turning pork every 20 minutes so that it cooks evenly. Cook until the meat is fork- tender and the liquid has almost evaporated, about 2 hours.

Remove the bay leaf. Increase the heat and turn the meat to brown a little further on all sides. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to cool slightly.

When pork is cool enough to handle, cut into small pieces, mixing the pieces of shoulder and the belly.

Assemble tacos with corn tortillas. Accompany with pico de gallo or tomatillo sauce and pickled onions.

Corn Tortillas

3 1/2 cups instant corn masa mix - (Maseca brand)
2 1/4 cups of tap water


Place the masa mix in a large bowl. Slowly add the water while kneading the dough.

Once the water has been incorporated, continue to knead until the dough is smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. The masa should be very soft but not sticky, like play-dough. Once it is at the right consistency keep it covered with a damp kitchen towel at all times.

Heat a griddle or a skillet over medium heat. Divide the dough and make 15 balls.

Place in the center of the open tortilla press between two sheets of plastic. Press the lever gently but firmly to flatten.

Remove the plastic wrap from the tortilla and place onto the cast iron skillet and cook for 1 minute on each side. Remove the tortilla to a plate lined with a tea towel.

Cover the tortilla with a second towel to keep warm. Repeat with all of the dough.

Use immediately.

Storing. Cooked tortillas can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week well wrapped until ready to use. To reheat, place them one at a time on a hot griddle. or store well wrapped in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Tomato Salsa or Roosterʼs Beak - Pico de gallo

4 to 5 plum red-ripe tomatoes ( chopped into 1/4-inch cubes)
1/2 medium white onion (chopped into 1/4-inch cubes)
1 small jalapeño (stemmed, seeded and finely chopped) to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt


Place the onion into a strainer, rinse under cold tap water, shake off the excess and transfer to a medium bowl. Add the green chile, tomatoes, cilantro and lime.

Stir well, taste and season with salt. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa - Salsa Verde

4 medium tomatillos ( husked and rinsed)
1 jalapeños (stemmed) or to taste
2 large garlic cloves (peeled)
8 sprigs of fresh cilantro (roughly chopped)
1/4 small white onion (finely chopped)
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt


Roast the tomatillos, chile(s) and garlic on baking sheet, below a very hot broiler, until black and softening (about 5 minutes).

Flip them over and roast the other side. Cool, then transfer everything to a blender, including the juice the tomatillos have released during roasting. Add the cilantro and water, then blend to a coarse puree. Transfer into a small dish.

Rinse the onion under cold water, shake to remove excess moisture. Stir into the salsa and season with salt.

Pickled Red Onions

2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 cup freshly squeezed sour oranges or 3/4 cup lime juice and 1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon kosher salt


Pour boiling water over the sliced onions and let it sit for about 10 seconds. Drain the water and toss in the sour orange juice and salt.

Cover and let it marinate for about 5 hours in the refrigerator. These will last for a week or more in the refrigerator.

Chef Rosa Maria Tortorici


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