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Carnitas Tacos + Taqueria Red Salsa

crispy pork carnitas tacos with salsa, onions and cilantro
Prep Time 1 d 20 mins
Cook Time 1 d
Total Time 2 d 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 servings


For the pork:

  • 4-6 lbs pork shoulder cut into 2 inch thick slabs
  • 1 onion rough chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves peeled and rough chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick broken into a few pieces or 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 orange unpeeled and cut into wedges
  • salt

For the salsa:

  • 1 large tomato
  • 4 medium tomatillos
  • 2 garlic cloves unpeeled
  • 1/2 onion
  • 15 dried arbol chilies stemmed and seeded
  • salt to taste

To serve:

  • corn tortillas warmed or charred
  • chopped cilantro and white onion


For the pork:

  • Mix the pork ingredients in a large bowl and toss well, seasoning with a good amount of salt. Place into vacuum sealed bag and seal if using sous vide. Cook at 185 for 16 hours.
  • If using oven method, set oven to 300 and place pork ingredients in an oven safe pot with a lid. Cook with the lid on for 2-3 hours, occasionally basting the pork with juices. Check the tenderness of the pork. If it is getting somewhat tender, remove the lid an allow the pork to finish cooking until very tender. If still hard to pull apart, cook with the lid on another hour or so and try again. The pork should be fully tender when done.
  • Remove the pork from the juices and shred the meat. Taste it and toss with some salt if needed. Use a bit of the pan juice to moisten the meat. If you used the sous vide method, heat the broiler and place shredded meat on a foil lined baking sheet.
  • Place under the broiler until browned and slightly crispy. You can also do this in a skillet if you like.

For the salsa:

  • In a heavy skillet or under your broiler, cook the tomato, onion, tomatillos, and garlic. Let them roast until they start to blister and blacken and soften a little.
  • Peel the garlic and add all the ingredients to the blender or food processor. Add the chilies to the hot pan briefly to soften or else microwave them for 5 seconds. Add to the blender. Blend until the mixture is well blended, adding a little water if needed. Taste and add some salt and vinegar or lime juice if it needs a bit more acidity.
Keyword Main Dish, Mexican, Pork