If there is a perfect way to make tacos we are one step closer to discovering it. I mean, anyone can take a pound or two of ground meet, add a packet of taco seasoning, throw in some refried beans, add a tortilla and some toppings and call it a taco. Right?
Isn’t that what the quick stop taco shops do?
Over the last few months we have taken our search for the perfect taco to a whole other level. And it has been super yum!
We’ve tried fish tacos, beef tacos, chicken tacos, and carnitas (or pork tacos).
By far, our favorite has been carnitas. For several weeks we have tried them different ways. Mostly we start by putting a pork roast in the crock pot for 8 - 10 hours the day before, shred the meet, and refrigerate overnight.
The next day I add my secret taco mix then fry up the meat in a cast iron skillet coated with olive oil.
But the big question remains...
What is the best cut of meat to make the tastiest tacos?
We have tried top roast, butt roast, round roast, shoulder, and finally...
Country Style Ribs!!!
Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my chin just thinking about it!
Yes, it really was that good. But don’t take my word for it. You have to make them yourself!
So, with that being said I am going to divulge my top secret taco mix, and the complete recipe for making what I trust will be...
The best tacos you have eaten... at least in a while.
Here is what you are going to need for your next #tacoTuesday
On Monday morning you need:
Drizzle a bit of olive oil into the crockpot (slow cooker... “I’ve heard it both ways”). Cut the onion into quarters and spread it across the bottom of the crock.
Next, open the package of ribs but don’t remove them from the tray. First sprinkle with salt, pepper and smoked Paprika.
Now, place the seasoned side down on top of the onions and season the ribs again on the second side.
Cover and cook on low for 8 - 10 hours.
When they are done cooking turn off the crockpot and let them cool a bit... enough that you can handle them without getting burned. You’ll need to use your hands so make sure they are clean, or if you are prepping a meal for someone else you should use food service gloves.
Crumble up the meat, removing large bits of fat and if you got the bone in ribs make sure you get all the bones out. Try not to eat to much of the meat while you are doing this as you need it for tomorrows dinner. :)
Put the meat in a container, I like to use our Pampered Chef microwave steamer, and put it in the fridge for the night.
On Tuesday, decide what time you want to eat the tacos! You need to know this as you want to eat them as soon as everything is prepped and ready and still hot.
So, about an hour before the time you want to eat you’ll need to get 2 cups of rice cooking.
What? I didn’t tell you about the rice?
Well, cilantro and lime rice is a must! Here is the way I do it:
What you will need:
Put the water in the pot and bring it to a boil. Add the rice, give it a stir, put the lid on it and turn the temp down to a simmer... or just a bit hotter. You want it to keep boiling but not hard.
You can put a timer on for 18 - 20 minutes but depending on the environment on the day you are cooking the actually done time will change.
Now, we are going to be cooking corn tortillas and frying up the carnitas while the rice is cooking but the rest of the process for the rice - when it is done - is thus...
Turn off the heat but leave the pot on the hot burner. Add the the butter (I like to shave it into 2 - 3 thin slices and place it on top of the rice. DON’T STIR THE RICE YET!
At the lime juice, cilantro and sprinkle some salt over the top.
Now you can FLUFF the rice with a fork mixing all the ingredients together.
Ok. Let’s back up a bit now.
As soon as you put the pot of water on the boil for the rice you will want to grab a large cast iron skillet (I use a 12 inch skillet), olive oil, and your corn tortillas. Heat the skillet on medium heat till it is good and hot, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and cook the tortillas.
I like mine a bit on the crispy side so I cook them for 30 seconds, flip them and cook the second side for 25 seconds.
Depending on how many tortillas you are cooking the rice should be close to being done right about the time you are done cooking the tortillas and carnitas.
While I am cooking the tortillas we usually prep the toppings and the carnitas. If you have some helping hands get them busy grating cheese, slicing olives, chopping fresh onion and tomatoes... whatever you enjoy topping your tacos with really. (If you don’t have a helper you may want to prep all the toppings before you start cooking.)
Put the carnitas in a big bowl, add in the taco seasoning, about 2-3 tablespoons of it (hint: my top secret recipe for this is below), and mix it up good. You can do this in between cooking tortillas or before you start cooking them so they are ready to go in the skillet as soon as the tortillas are done.
To heat up and sear the carnitas (make the edges of the meat crispy) I add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet.
Spoon in enough carnitas to cover the bottom of the skillet. You don’t want to try cooking them all at one time. Don’t stir them once they are in the skillet. Just let them sear for 30-45 second, then flip them with a turner spatula and do the same thing on the second side.
You can use a fork to fish a piece of meat out of the skillet to test for doneness but most of the time it only take 2-3 minutes. Scoop the carnitas into a new dish and continue cooking whatever is left in the bowl. You may end up with 2 or 3 batches depending on how much meat you used... or how much was left after prepping them the day before.
Now all that is left is to call the family to the tables and start assembling tacos... or don’t call them and keep them all to yourself. It’s up to you!
We serve our tacos family style. In other words, all the fixings go in the center of the table and we gather around, say grace, and everyone passes the fixings around while we individually assemble our tacos. It’s utter chaos for about 5 minutes but once everyone is eating all you hear is the crunching of tacos and the moans and groans of blissful taco heaven.
This recipe take some time to assemble but if you try it the whole family may be begging for #tacoTuesday on Thursday, Saturday or maybe every day until you make them again.
Oh. And since you took the time to read this post I am rewarding you with my top secret taco seasoning recipe.
Here it is...
What you will need:
Mix it all well.
We have little kids so I usually leave out the Cayenne pepper. Also, note that this make more than what you need to make a batch of tacos so I usually double or triple the mix and store it in an empty spice jar so I don’t have to make it every week.
Also this mix is great on baked fries, breakfast skillets, burgers, and lots of other stuff as well.
If you try out this recipe, make sure you post a pick to instagram and tag me at @andrew.breault and let me know what you think. Is it a hit or is there some other way to improve on it?
About the Author
I am a Full-Time Enterprise Support Technician at Evangel University and Part-Time YouTuber and Online Entrepreneur.