Tacos de Carnitas


To make this recipe your own, try serving the carnitas tacos with different toppings—other slaws and salsas would work, as would cilantro sprigs, shredded lettuce, and crumbled queso fresco. On the side, serve grilled corn or sliced watermelon. Inspired by the dish Chef Patricio Sandoval prepared for Food Network In Concert.


  • 2 pounds boneless blade pork roast (cut into 4x4x2-inch pieces)
  • 4 cups lard
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 onions (roughly chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil (or other neutral-flavored oil)
  • 6 chile de arbol
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • 1 1/4 cups savoy cabbage (shredded)
  • salt (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons tomatillos (diced)
  • 1 tablespoon red onion (diced)
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro (finely chopped)
  • salt (to taste)
  • 8 corn tortillas (6-inch, warmed)
  • 3 tablespoons dry roasted peanuts


  1. To make the carnitas: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a braising pan or skillet just large enough to hold the meat over medium heat, combine carnitas ingredients, stirring occasionally until the lard melts. Add pork (the liquid should cover the meat) and bring to a simmer. Cover, transfer to oven, and cook until the pork is very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
  3. While the pork is cooking, make the coleslaw: In a small skillet over medium heat, warm oil. Add chiles and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chiles darken and are toasted, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  4. In the jar of a blender, combine chiles (including oil from the pan), peanuts, honey and lemon juice and process to a chunky puree, scraping down the jar as necessary. Add more lemon juice to taste or if the dressing is too chunky.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the cabbages with dressing and salt to taste. Set aside in the refrigerator.
  6. Also while the pork is cooking, make the pico de gallo: In a medium bowl, combine pico de gallo ingredients. Set aside in the refrigerator.
  7. To make the tacos: Shred half of the pork.** In a medium skillet over medium heat, cook shredded pork and a tablespoon or two of the cooking liquid, stirring occasionally, until the pork is heated through and crisped, 3 or 4 minutes. Arrange tortillas on plates or a platter, top with pork, coleslaw, pico de gallo and peanuts, and serve.
  8. 8 tacos, or 4 servings, plus leftover pork for 8 more
  9. * Look for chiles de arbol in the Latin or ethnic section of your supermarket and at Latin markets.
  10. **Leftover pork can be stored in the cooking liquid, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
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