Peachy Pork Carnitas Tacos
Tacos de Carnitas famously involves a two-step cooking process. First, pork pieces are simmered in water until they’re very tender. Then, once the liquid evaporates, the meat fries and crisps in its own fat (as lightly or as deeply as you please, based on the texture you want and how long you keep the pot over the heat).
Adding a few aromatics and Hot for Peacher, our smoked peach rub, infuses the meat with an initial layer of seasoning. Finishing the crisped pork pieces with additional seasoning, peach jam, and sriracha echoes the flavors in the seasoning and creates a jammy, sweet-and-spicy finish– a fun and wildly tasty riff on the most soulful pork tacos around.
Peachy Pork Carnitas Tacos
The sharp fire of sriracha is the perfect ally for peach jam– but feel free to use sambal oelek, chopped Calabrian red peppers, or your favorite hot sauce instead. The goal here is striking your preferred balance of sweet and heat. A final squeeze of fresh lime juice lights up all the other flavors.
3 ½ - 4 lbs boneless pork shoulder, either butt or picnic (see note)
1 large white onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
4 bay leaves, preferably fresh
3 tablespoons Hot for Peacher seasoning, divided
¼ cup peach jam
2-3 tablespoons sriracha (as desired for heat)
18 best quality corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
Chopped fresh cilantro (tender stems and leaves), for serving
Finely chopped onion, for serving
Lime wedges, for serving
Trim excess fat from the surface of the pork roast, and then slice the meat into 2-inch cubes. Place the pork in a large Dutch oven, season with 2 tablespoons of Hot for Peacher, and use your hands to evenly coat the meat. Add enough water to cover the pork by 2 inches, as well as the quartered onion, garlic, and bay leaves.
Bring the pork mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the meat uncovered for 1 ½ -2 ½ hours, until pork is very tender (add water if needed to keep the top of the meat submerged). Skim off any foam that forms on the surface. Continue to simmer until all of the water has evaporated, about 30 minutes. Continue to cook until the pork begins to fry, stirring occasionally, until it browns and crisps in its own fat. Add a splash of water, as needed, if the meat starts to stick before it’s nicely browned.
Remove the pot from heat and allow it to cool slightly. Remove the bay leaves. Add the remaining tablespoon of Hot for Peacher, the peach jam, and sriracha and gently toss the pork to combine (it will fall apart as you do this). Taste and add additional jam or sriracha as desired.
Serve the carnitas, spoon the pork onto warm corn tortillas, and top with the chopped onion and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
Some supermarkets and most Mexican markets sell “pork for carnitas,” varying sizes of boneless pork that cook down beautifully. The mix of cuts tends to produce a rich flavor worthy of your favorite taqueria– skip the slicing and use them instead of a whole roast.