Thursday, June 10, 2010

Memorial Day Pork Tacos

Admittedly, I have been slacking a little on my blog. Ok, maybe I've been slacking a lot. My goal was to do this once a week and between Memorial Day weekend and a work trip to New York, I (1) haven't been cooking a whole lot and (2) haven't had a lot of free time to blog a whole lot. But now that that's over, I will get back to my once-a-week blogging goal. This will not be like the time I started a diary in the 3rd grade and stopped a week later. I've made Tastespotting! There's no way I'm stopping now.

While I haven't had time to cook a ton over the last two weeks, I have definitely had time to eat. And oh boy, have I been eating! Memorial Day was spent at my friends Kari and Steven's family cabin in the beautiful San Juan Islands in northern Washington. Each person was in charge of a meal and every single person stepped it up this year! From buttermilk blueberry pancakes to BBQ'd oysters to baked ziti and more it was a heavenly weekend with great food and even better company.

My contribution? Pork tacos. I paired it with the 
jalapeno mango slaw. Remember the slaw? The amazing, could eat it every day slaw? This is one of the 101 ways you could use the slaw and it works as well with pork as it did with fish. I prepped it the night before and as suspected, it stewed for 24 hours and the flavors melded, leaving a succulent, sweet side that had a hint of kick without being too spicy for those with sensitive taste buds. A picky eater admitted to being hesitant about the slaw, but tried it anyways and really liked it - something every cook loves to hear!

This carnitas recipe is a favorite of mine - it's easy to prepare, inexpensive (if you have the spices), serves a lot of people and always gets rave reviews. The meat just tears apart and is tender and flavorful and just plain delicious. The aroma kicks in about 20 minutes into simmering and you'll be salivating until you eat. Between the salty goodness of the pork and the sweet tang of the coleslaw, this is a winner of a meal.

Remember my love of good Mexican? Check! My love/hate relationship with cumin? Yeah, it's there too. And even if you don't remember those things, you should still try this recipe. Bon appetite!

The recipe: Carnitas

Servings: 6
Prep time: 20-30 Minutes
Cooking time: 2-2.5 hours
Click here to get the 'slaw recipe!


3 pounds pork shoulder (butt) roast
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1.5 cups orange juice
6 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon kosher salt
water to cover

1. Cut pork shoulder in pieces and season the pork with cumin, coriander and oregano. Using a large saucepan, brown the meat slightly.
2. Remove meat and add 1/2 cup orange juice to the pan. Scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan and bring to a simmer. 
3. Add the meat, along with the whole garlic cloves (peeled, of course), salt, remaining orange juice, one bay leaf and enough water to just cover the meat. Bring the mixture to a boil and cover loosely.
4. Allow meat to simmer until tender and liquid is evaporated (approx 2 hours). If liquid evaporates and the pork in not yet fork tender, add more liquid and continue to simmer. 
5. Once the liquid evaporates and the pork is tender, break the meat up into small chunks with a fork. Turn heat to medium and fry the meat until brown and crispy.
Serving suggestion: Serve with pico de gallo (homemade with cilantro, white onion, and tomatoes), avocado and/or black beans.


  1. The slaw sounds great but what do you suggest for non-pork eaters? Chicken? Shrimp?

  2. The slaw works well with chicken and any kind of white fish (halibut, cod, etc). I bet it would be great with shrimp too!