eatsCrystal Blanchette

Quick (or not so quick) Carnitas Tacos

eatsCrystal Blanchette
Quick (or not so quick) Carnitas Tacos

Prince Charming came wrapped in a tortilla today and boy was he worth the wait! Luckily for you, the wait won't be too long with the semi-homemade version of these tacos below. Dress up some store bought carnitas with a gorgeous slaw and some quick pickled onions. Add avocado if you're feelin' it (is anyone ever not feelin' it when it comes to avocado?). I know the photo has two tortillas, but I actually preferred these tacos with one. Do as I say, not as I do. Oh, and there's a homemade carnitas version for the real OGs. Enjoy!



Time: 4 hours Servings 8-10

Ingredients for prepared carnitas
1 Package of Trader Joe's prepared carnitas or see carnitas recipe below


  • 6-7 lbs. boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 5-6 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon himalayan salt
  • 1 chile in adobo, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 pack of your favorite soft shell tortillas (corn or flour)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil



  1. Place the pork in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot.
  2. Add the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt, chile in adobo and enough water to just barely cover the meat.
  3. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for two hours. Don’t touch the meat.
  4. After two hours, increase the heat to medium-high and while occasionally stirring and turning the pieces, continue to cook for about 45 minutes, or until all of the liquid has evaporated, leaving only the rendered pork fat.
  5. Let it sizzle in this fat long enough to brown at the edges, turning pieces gently (they’ll be eager to fall apart), only as needed.
  6. When pork has browned on both sides, it’s ready.
  7. Adjust seasonings to taste.  

Pickled Onions and Tortillas


  1. Bring water, vinegar, honey, and salt to a boil.
  2. Add onions and simmer, uncovered for 3 minutes.
  3. Drain and set aside.
  4. Put olive oil in a medium size pan (low  heat)
  5. Place 3 to 4 tortillas in the heated pan
  6. Cook for 2 mins on each side
  7. Pat tortilla dry with paper towel
  8. Stuff tortilla with carnitas and pickled onions
  9. Garnish with cilantro or cilantro slaw (below) and enjoy

Cilantro Slaw

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoonshoney
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • dash of red chile flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bag coleslaw mix or thinly sliced purple cabbage


  1. In a blender, blend vinegar, honey, ginger, red pepper, oil, salt and cilantro.
  2. Mix with coleslaw mix.
  3. Let stand, tossing occasionally, until slaw is a bit wilted (about 10 minutes).