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Traci Des Jardins's Carnitas Tacos
12 to 18 tacos
5.0 7
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Ingredients (24)

For the tacos:

  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder with fat
  • 1/4 cup lard, duck fat, or vegetable oil
  • 1 Negra Modela beer
  • 2 tangerines, quartered
  • 1 ounce piloncillo or brown sugar, roughly crushed
  • 1 dried chipotle chile
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 to 18 small corn tortillas
  • 1 bag tortillas chips, preferably homemade

For the salsa verde:

  • 1 pound tomatillos
  • 1 serrano chile
  • 1 white onion, peeled
  • 1 bunch cilantro, thoroughly washed
  • Salt

For the guacamole:

  • 2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled and de-seeded
  • 1/2 remaining cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 white onion, finely minced
  • Juice of 4 Key limes or 2 regular limes
  • 1/4 finely minced serrano chile
  • Salt to taste, about 1 1/2 teaspoons

To garnish:

  • 1/2 white onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro leaves, roughly cut
  • 1/4 serrano chile, finely minced
  • 5 Key limes, halved, or 2 regular limes, quartered
Nutritional Information
  • Calories567
  • Fat35.52g
  • Saturated fat9.16g
  • Trans fat0.04g
  • Carbs39.13g
  • Fiber6.73g
  • Sugar6.32g
  • Protein25.14g
  • Cholesterol85.88mg
  • Sodium691.51mg
  • Nutritional Analysis per serving (15 servings) Powered by

San Francisco Bay Area chef/restaurateur Traci Des Jardins shares the recipe for one of her favorite party dishes; plus recipes for her salsa verde and guacamole! Serve these tacos at your next Super Bowl party, or just as a simple weeknight meal.


For the tacos:
  1. 1
    Remove the outside fat from the meat and cut the fat into strips 1 inch x 1/4 × 1/4.
  2. 2
    Cut the meat into 3 × 3 × 3 inch chunks, you do not need precisely this size, roughly.
  3. 3
    Place the lard or oil into a sauté pan and heat over medium high heat. When the oil is hot add the fat pieces and stir with a wooden spoon. Allow to cook over medium to medium high heat, they should be at a slow sizzle. Allow to brown slowly, over a 7 to 10 minute period, the oil should not be smoking hot. Using a slotted spoon or spider, remove the fat from the pan when it is golden brown and crispy, retire to a paper towel to drain and season with salt.
  4. 4
    Thoroughly salt the pork pieces and place into the hot fat. Cook over medium high heat and brown on all sides until a deep golden brown, probably about 15 minutes.
  5. 5
    When deep golden brown on all sides, turn the pan off and wait for 5 minutes. Open the beer and take a big swig and then add the bottle to the pan. Add the tangerines, piloncillo, and chipotle chile, bring to a simmer and cover. Cook at a low simmer on the stovetop or in a 250 degree oven for about 2 hours, or until falling apart.

For the salsa verde:

  1. 1
    Remove the husks from the tomatillos and discard. Wash the tomatillos in warm water to remove the film on them. Roughly chop 1/2 of the serrano chile, reserve other half for guacamole. Roughly chop 1/4 of the white onion. Cut 2 inches of the stem off of the cilantro and discard. Then cut the bunch in half. Reserve the leaves for garnish.
  2. 2
    Place the tomatillos in a blender and blend to smooth. Add the onion, serrano and the stem half of the cilantro and blend to smooth, add salt to taste, about 1 1/2 tablespoons. Place into a bowl.

For the guacamole:

  1. 1
    Place the avocados in a mortar or a mixing bowl. Crush with a pestle or a pastry cutter or potato masher or a fork. Add the lemon juice and salt and mix well, add the onion and cilantro, taste for seasoning.
Traci Des Jardins's Carnitas Tacos
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