Carnitas (Pulled Pork) & Handmade Tortillas

Pulled Pork
  • 1 pork shoulder, around 1.5kg (no other type of pork will work)
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1 yellow or orange capsicum
  • 1 red onion
  • Assortment of fresh and/or dried chilis to your taste (I would recommend fresh jalepenos, canned chipotles*, and red ball chilis)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cup cola
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 tbsp ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp ground coriander
  • 3 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • Zest of 1 lime
Grilled Corn Salsa
  • 1 vine ripened tomato
  • 1 white onion
  • 1/3 continental cucumber
  • 1 ear of corn
  • 1/2 bunch of coriander
  • Juice of 1 lime
Flour Tortillas
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 3 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/8 cup warm milk
* You can find canned chipotles in any good Spanish supermarket.  Otherwise they are available online, such as Chile Mojo.
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There is nothing in my mind that comes close to this dish in terms of the pay-off to effort ratio. It’s extremely rewarding, and will provide you with enough food for a few days if you’re lucky!

Pulled Pork: Take the pork shoulder, cut the skin off (leave a bit of fat if you can), and dice the flesh up into 5cm pieces. Salt them and let them sit for a bit (a few hours in the fridge if you can be bothered, I couldn’t wait that long).

Heat up oil in a saucepan and fry the pork in a single layer until it’s nice and golden… a couple of batches is probably going to be necessary.  Take them out and you should have some awesome caramelisation in the pan… then I add in the chopped red onion, and chopped capsicums and a bit of oil so they don’t burn. Then add in a few diced chilies, and crushed garlic cloves. Follow this up with the cumin seeds, and then once they’d cooked a bit add the cola (this helps clean all those awesome browned pork juices off the bottom and gives it a nice sweet caramel undertone). Add the pork back in, add in the chicken stock, ground cumin, ground coriander seeds, ground chili, sweet paprika, dried oregano, some dried chilis, lime zest and enough water to cover the pork. Don’t add any salt at this point, you will need to taste it once it has reduced and season it properly at that point.

Bring it to the boil then reduce it right down. If you use a pot with a metal handle then the next bit is easy, but you’ll want to put the whole thing in the oven on a low temp (130°C)… even a bit lower is better if you’ve got time. If you haven’t got a pot then just a roasting tray or baking dish will do.  Either way, ensure you cover it so it doesn’t dry up (foil is good for this – or a metal pot lid). You’ll want to let that cook down for anywhere from 6-10 hours depending on the heat and the size of the pork… but stir it every hour or so. At some point all the meat will just fall apart into strands, you can probably just do it with a wooden spoon. If it’s too runny then take the foil off so it can evaporate some of the liquid.  If it’s still too runny then you can

Meanwhile (this step is completely unnecessary) you can take the skin that you cut off with about 2-3 cm of fat attached and score it, rub in a fair amount of ground sea salt and ground coriander. Put it into a steamer for about 20 mins. Take it out, pat the skin dry and salt it again… now put it into a baking tray and into the oven for about 2 hours (maybe closer to 3 hours  if you still have the pork in there; you can turn the temp up towards the end once the pork is out) and you get some crispy crackling to break up and serve over the tacos.

Grilled Corn Salsa: Cut the kernels off the ear of corn and add to a dry frying pan and cook over a medium heat until slightly charred.  Meanwhile, dice the tomato, white onion, and cucumber, and chopped coriander.  Once the corn is done, add this, and the juice of one lime.

Flour Tortillas: Combine flour, baking powder, salt and oil.  Pour the warm milk in slowly while stirring.  Bring together to form a sticky dough, then put this onto a floured surface and knead for approximately two minutes.  The dough should be firm and smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and rest in a warm place for 20 minutes.

Once rested, break into twelve even portions, roll them into balls, and place into a surface around 3-5cm apart.  Cover with plastic wrap again for 10 minutes.

Take the rested dough balls, pat them out into a disc with your hands, place them onto a floured surface and roll them out into a very thin circle, approximately 15-20cm in diameter.  This is made much easier if you have a tortilla press which you can pick up for around $40 or so.  Repeat until all the tortillas are rolled out (it’s a good idea to add a bit of flour between each one so they don’t stick together).

Heat a dry cast iron frying pan up to a high heat, and add the tortillas one at a time.  They should take about 30 seconds on each side.  You might need to flatten them down a bit with the back of an egg flip if they start to puff up too much.

Cooked tortillas can be kept in a warm place until read to eat, and any leftovers can be kept in a fridge and re-heated in a pan prior to eating the following day.


Serve with guacamole, sour cream, jalepenos and a lime wedge.


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