HOME CAFÉ CARNITAS TRADICIONAL
From Josh Poling of Home Cafe and Marketplace in Bowling Green.
Photo: Edis Celik
Carnitas are traditionally a dish of pork shoulder fried in lard. Josh roasts the pork first so that it becomes tender, then finishes it in oil to crisp the outside.
1 (6-8 lb) local pork shoulder
Tex Mex Dry Rub (recipe below)
Soft flour or corn tortillas
Tex Mex Dry Rub
Combine 2 tablespoons each smoked paprika and oregano and 1/4 cup each freshly ground pepper, granulated garlic, ground cumin, and salt. (You won’t use all this mixture on the carnitas. Use extra for a barbecue rub.)
A day ahead of serving, heat oven to 350 degrees. Trim fat on pork to 1/4 inch. Rub with kosher salt. Place pork in oven and roast to an internal temperature of 165 degrees; cool and refrigerate overnight.
To serve: fill a deep pan with several inches of oil. Heat to 350 degrees. Chop pork in 3/4- to 1-inch cubes. Working in batches (do not crowd pork), place it into the hot oil for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until crisp. (Make sure oil has recovered temperature between pork batches. Not doing this will result in greasy pork.) Remove pork pieces and immediately toss them in Tex Mex Dry Rub; remove pork, shaking off excess rub. Hold in a 200-degree oven while you finish frying remainder of pork.
To build the tacos: Place soft flour or corn tortilla on counter. Place some pork in the center, followed by slaw, pickled jalapenos, and then drizzle with some sauce from the slaw.
Find Poling’s recipe for homemade slaw online at
Cooking Tips: Slaw recipe, local products, and more
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