Mojo Pork Carnitas Tacos are the perfect mash up of garlic citrus pork and the convenience of a taco. Topped with fresh onions, cilantro, lime, and queso fresco, they are the perfect dish for any taco Tuesday.
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Full disclosure: I was not a fan of this dish when I was younger. I was “blessed” with an extreme level of pickiness. This pickiness was compounded by the braces and headgear I wore for 5 whole years. This dish in particular would get stuck in the teeny tiny crevices of said braces, resulting in what seemed like a lifetime of flossing. Did I overreact by swearing off this dish for years? Yes. Am I always that dramatic? The jury is still out.
But the fact is, my mother came up with this on a whim and literally everyone I know who’s had it loves it; they are right to do so. She dishes it up with white rice with the cilantro and onions, much like a burrito bowl. It took my husband, having it like a taco with salsa verde and queso fresco, for me to rediscover just how good it is.
Tips for making Mojo Pork Carnitas Tacos:
- This recipe calls for boneless pork shoulder ribs. Typically, my mom uses boneless pork chops. I like the extra level of fattiness you get from the ribs; it helps keep the meat from drying out. Both work well, it comes down to your personal preference.
- Traditional carnitas are boiled/braised for hours on end. As the meat is boiled, the water evaporates, leaving the meat to then fry in its own rendered fat. The result is savory, crispy meat to die for. This recipe bypasses a considerable portion of that process with a pressure cooker.
- Whatever you do, save the cooking liquid! By cooking the meat in the pressure cooker, you’re also rendering most of the fat from the meat. You’re going to want to use this broth when you go to crisp up the meat. It will prevent the pork from drying out.
- I use premade mojo. Sacrilege, I know! One of the main ingredients in mojo is sour orange, which can be hard to find in your everyday grocery store. There are times when, yes, we make a special trip to a special market to get them. This dish, however, is not one of those times.
- This recipe calls for a ¼ cup of vegetable oil for frying. This amount can increase or decrease depending on your meat. Add a small amount of oil at a time; you can always add more if needed. You want enough oil to help brown the meat, but not so much that the meat is overly greasy. The same rule applies to the mojo as well.
- I love eating this as a taco and I love them with corn tortillas. “But they always fall apart!”. That’s because tortillas need to be heated either on an open burner (under a watchful eye) or in a pan. Please please please do not warm up a tortilla in the microwave. It simply doesn’t work.
- Lastly, and this is a personal preference, chop the onion and cilantro as finely as you can. Tacos are about ratios and the perfect balance of meat to tortilla to toppings. The last thing you want is a huge chunk of raw onion, upsetting that balance.
These tacos are simply delicious and I genuinely hope you give them a try. I also hope you love them as much as my family does. Enjoy! 🙂
Mojo Pork Carnitas Tacos
- 6-Quart Pressure Cooker
- 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder ribs
- 6 cups water
- ½ cup mojo marinate
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil plus more if needed
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- salt to taste
- ½ small yellow onion diced
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro chopped
- 16 small corn tortillas
- 2 limes
- salsa verde optional
- Place the pork and 6 cups of water in the pot of a 6-quart pressure cooker. Place the lid of the pressure cooker on the pot, locking it in place and adjusting the pressure valve according to manufactures instructions. Once pressurized, cook for 25 minutes.
- Once the 25 minutes has passed, allow the pressure cooker to depressurize. Gently remove the pork from the pot and place in a bowl. Using two forks, shred the pork, taking care to remove large pieces of fat. Pour the mojo over the shredded meat and stir to ensure it is evenly covered. Reserve the cooking liquid and set to the side.
- Heat 3 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Once warm, add the shredded pork, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and ½ cup of the reserved cooking liquid. Bring to a simmer and continue to cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes.
- Next, add the additional vegetable oil to the pan. Continue to cook the pork until it is evenly browned, roughly 5 – 10 minutes. Once browned, remove the pan from the heat.
- Serve immediately with warmed tortillas, queso fresco, cilantro, onion, and salsa.