Carnitas Tacos with Salsa Verde

Serves 12-18 tacos 


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  


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  



For the tacos:  

Remove the outside fat from the meat and cut the fat into strips 1 inch x 1/4 × 1/4.  

Cut the meat into 3 × 3 × 3-inch chunks, you do not need precisely this size, roughly.  

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 seven to ten 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.  

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.  

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:  

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 the cilantro and discard. Then cut the bunch in half. Reserve the leaves for garnish.  

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.