Carnitas translates to “little meats,” but there is nothing little about this dish. This dish is easily one of my favorites. My youngest says my Carnitas on a Crispy Tortilla is in his “Top 3, mommy. No doubt.” I would have to agree, son. Definitely.
In the sauna, little carnitas
So, we lived near Dallas for over 8 years. In my opinion, we had some of the best tex-mex food around. Generations and regions change recipes over time, so you’re not going to get one area that agrees 100% with how another area has adapted a dish – or if you do, it’s pretty rare. I searched high and low for many carnitas recipes over the last 10 years. The one I have adapted to is a little odd, but it delivers the most amazing flavor profile you’ll ever taste in carnitas.
It starts with getting those babies nice and tender. To accomplish this, you let it simmer in a liquid and seasoning concoction for about 2-3 hours. Some use lard. I do not. I have nothing against lard. I just don’t think it’s necessary to get the same flavor profile. Enter Coca-Cola and Sunkist. I told you it was a little odd….trust me on this though. It offers just the right amount of sweetness and flavor to counter the saltiness and savoriness of the dish.
Now your carnitas need some friends
The way we dress ours up is to fry flour tortillas in vegetable oil for about 35 seconds per side to get them nice and crispy. They want to huff up in places, but I keep a knife because
I don’t play it’s super handy to just pop the little air pockets as they arrive. Then, I cook 2 cans of black beans with some onions chopped up, and seasoning until they are thick, but able to spread on to the tortillas. I also chop up lots of yummies like lettuce, tomatoes and red onion. Grate some cheese and make my Jalapeño Ranch Salad Dressing or an avocado cream sauce and you will make friends. Lots and lots of friends. You could be boring and just eat them on a soft flour tortilla and nothing else. Do you also dream in black and white? Come on,now!
Ok, let’s get started!
Carnitas on a Crispy Tortilla:
Carnitas on a Crispy Tortilla
Takes 3-4 Hours
Serves 6-8 People
- 2-3 lb pork shoulder
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/4 Cup Sunkist Soda
- 1/4 Cup Coca Cola Soda
- 1 onion quartered
- 1 Cup of water
- 1/2 tsp of each seasoning: black pepper, red pepper, garlic salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of each: cumin, chili powder, paprika, salt
Put all of your seasonings in a bowl.
Heat up oil in a big dutch oven or pot on medium high heat. Put chunks of pork shoulder in pot and put half of the seasoning in all over pork. Reserve half to put on the other half after you flip them. When browned on one side (approximately 4-5 minutes) flip and season with other half of seasoning. Brown that side for another 4-5 minutes.
Add sunkist, cola and water. Place lid and let simmer for 35 minutes. Taste the liquid. If it doesn’t have enough seasoning, add more here. Add another 3/4 cup of water. Replace lid and cook for another 35 minutes. You will add water as long as you have at least 1/2″ at the bottom of the pot. Sometimes it’s 3 times, sometimes it’s 4 times.
When it has been cooking at least for 2 hours, add cut up onion.
When the pork is fork tender, take 2 forks and pull pork apart in its own liquid.
This part is optional:
Fry small tortillas in vegetable oil for 45 seconds per side or until golden brown. Take out and let rest on a paper towel (with plate). Our family loves black beans cooked down to mush, so we add the black beans, then the pork, then lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cheese, jalapeño salad dressing, and hot sauce or salsa.