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Carnitas Tacos with Pico de Gallo

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My weekend was rough – literally. I’ve mentioned I’m playing on a “Corporate Challenge” team for Brent’s work, and one of the games included is flag football. We had 3 games in a row this Saturday, and the challenge rules dictate that at least two women on each team must be playing at all times – we had only 2 women show up willing to play on Saturday. It was super exhausting (but a lot of fun!) to play in the heat that long, and not to mention, my lack of grace caused me to make frequent contact with the rough ground. I look beat up. My legs look like someone took a bat to my knees – yikes! Sunday I felt like I could barely move from the waist down, which was fine I suppose because I had to spend most of the day catching up on school reading anyway.


While I was making a grocery list this week, I (as usual) asked Brent if he had any meal suggestions and he requested tacos – specifically tacos made with carnitas. I know Brent likes to order a carnitas burrito at Chipotle, but I wasn’t sure what carnitas actually are, so I looked up a few recipes. After noticing that carnitas seemed to be traditionally cooked in lard, I was not so sure about it, but I figured I would try to make a not so authentic version without lard because I’m a great wife – at least that’s what I like to tell Brent.

What I used:

  • 2.5lbs Boston shoulder pork roast, cut into big 2″ chunks
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1.5T kosher salt mixed with a pinch each of: garlic powder, black pepper, cumin, chili powder, curry powder, thyme (I was basically trying to make my own seasoned salt without buying any new spices)
  • a few shakes liquid smoke – about 5 drops
  • 1/2 cup water

What I Did:

  • Threw it all in the crockpot
  • Cooked on high for 5 hours
  • Picked out onion and garlic chunks
  • Shredded it

While the carnitas were cooking, I made pico de gallo to top the tacos. For the salsa, I just threw the following into a bowl and let it hang out for an hour while I waited on the meat to be done. These are very rough measurements, people.

Pico de Gallo:

  • Three Roma tomatoes, small diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • juice of half a lime
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (I shredded it on the smallest grater size)
  • half a jalapeno, seeded and minced (this was not spicy and I’m a wuss – use the whole thing)
  • 1/4t kosher salt – a good pinch

I really loved the pico. I would defs make it again as a salsa for chips. I served the carnitas on warmed corn tortillas, topped with avocado slices and some of the pico de gallo. Brent really loved them, and I thought they were pretty good too! Had to get some veg in with some lightly sautéed zucchini as well.

Now, obviously this made a ton of meat for two people. We did not come close to eating this much. Brent is having leftovers for lunch for a few days, and I threw a few servings in individual portions in the freezer. I just always think if I’m going to use my crockpot (which is huge – 7 quarts!) that I may as well make a big batch and freeze for later. Make it once, eat it twice right?

Food & Beer

Tonight Brent and I have reservations for a local food and beer dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, so hopefully I’ll get some photos and be able to post a fun recap sometime in the next few days! I’m really looking forward to it – the menu includes goat cheese ice cream. Can’t wait!


One response »

  1. I can’t even imagine cooking in lard! Your version looks marvelous and I’m sure MUCH better 🙂

    I can’t wait to hear how the goat cheese ice cream is. It’s been on my to-make ice cream list for a while now and I’m both psyched and a little nervous 🙂


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