Seriously! It’s been a big day, what with me starting a Twitterfight and all, which resulted in me being five kinds of hungry. I tell you, Readerland, it was the kind of hungry that could only be satisfied with my own throwdown into the contest of who makes the best tacos EVAH!*
All I could think about all day long was tacos.
I have a love of those messy disasters of meat and pico and whatever you can cram into a tortilla (corn, of course!) and have come to understand that there is just Not a Way to eat them Neatly. I must have either the best in town, or the cheap ones you get at that ridiculous chain, the one Outside the Box or whatever. One day I dream of visiting abbyjean and taking the Unofficial Taco Tour of L.A. (Vampires Not Included). (That was an Inside Joke, Soz.)
So, I searched all day, Readerland, from one end of the Internet to the Other, which should be read as half an Earth Hour, because that is really the length of time it took me to come across a recipe that we ended up using, Via an old NYT article entitled “The Taco Joint in Your Kitchen”, which I ran into while perusing Smitten Kitchen’s archives (I am in love with Deb’s blog, so, thanks, Maia, from Change, who I doubt reads my blog, but thanks anyhow!).
And damn my luck, my camera is down in the car in our parking garage and I just couldn’t muster up the energy to go and get it, but trust me, these tacos were beautiful and delicious, and well worth the time it took to make them.
We have limited availability of some fancier ingredients, so we didn’t roast all of the spices like it says to, and substituted powdered instead, and put a few drops of liquid smoke into the spice paste. We have it on hand from making Kalua Pig in our crock pot like big cheaters, what with not having the backyard and brick pit for burying an actual pig. The taste was quite good. Oh, who am I kidding? The taste overall was just great!
We also put the rinds of the citrus fruit (we used limes instead of lemons because that is what we had on hand) in the roasting liquid which made the meat slightly bitter. This was evened out by the salsa fresca or pico or whatever you want to call it we made to top it.
I have yet to come up with a good technique for baking corn tortillas. I am far too health conscious lazy to fry them when I am really tired, and we really love fresh corn tortillas. One of these days I promise to make them myself, but for now the brand of fresh-like ones we buy will do, if only we could get them tastier by baking. Without buying a fancy uni-use item for our tiny kitchen.
Oh, and would you believe our commissary actually had Tapatío? I have never seen a hot sauce other than Franks on the shelves! Better believe we bought that shit! Almost make up for the total lack of avocados, so sadly, our pork tacos had to go without guac OR yummy slices of fresh avo. OH THE HORRORS!
And if I wasn’t so privileged and aware of it, I would think that was a real tragedy. I got over it when The Guy bought me a champagne cola from the aisle where they keep the pre-made salsa, because I’d never had one, and it made my tongue kind of numb, which amused me. I remembered again when we had to eat our tacos with no avocado.
I’m over it again.
OK. Enough babble for now. Let’s get to what you came here for! I think the original recipe might be under subscription, so here it is!
Slow Roasted Pork Tacos
Slightly adapted from this recipe at the NY Times
10 cloves of peeled garlic (that is not a typo)
2 pound boneless pork butt (that’s a shoulder if you are not familiar with butcher terminology, since I know some of mah peeps are new with the cooking, so I try to accommodate that) We used a 4 pounder tonight because that is what they had and adjusted.
1/2 Tablespoon each of:
ground, mixed peppercorns
2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
Allow the meat to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 300 F or about, umm, 150 C. Slice four of the cloves of garlic into thin slices, and with a thin knife make small slits in the pork to slid the garlic into. Tuck the garlic on in there.
Combine spices, salt, and remaining garlic in a food processor and make a paste by slowly adding the citrus juice (we didn’t need all of it to do this). It should be a smooth puree that will rub easily all over the surface of your meat. Do that. You can let it sit at room temperature for 2 hours or in the refrigerator for 24 (but we didn’t).
At this point you can either put it on a grill that is covered in aluminum (al-oo-min-ee-um) foil, or in a roasting pan in that preheated oven (the original recipe wasn’t clear if you were supposed to cover it. We assumed you should and did) for at least two hours. The longer the better, as we understand it. You should baste it periodically to make sure it doesn’t dry out on the top, and add more liquid if it isn’t producing enough. We stuffed the citrus peels in after the liquid appeared, but it did make the meat a bit bitter. If you are us, you are going to take the lid off for the last thirty minutes to get the nice browned chewy bits on the top.
Take the hot meat out of the pan and shred it up all nice. You can serve it hot or room temperature on nice warm, tortillas. Corn if you love tacos, and flour if you are a monster! Ha! Just kidding! Eat your tacos however you like them! We served ours with a little fresh pico and even some sour cream!
Our fresh pico (today’s version, anyhow):
4 big beefsteak tomatoes
2 medium yellow onions
1 Pablano pepper, seeded
1 yellow Anaheim pepper, seeded
a few cloves of garlic (we lost count)
a bunch of cilantro, stems removed
sea salt and lime juice to taste
toss it all in a food processor and whirl it around until the chunks are the size you like.
*This is a trick statement and of course, misleading. The best tacos are made at Rosie’s Cantina in Hale’iwa, HI. The fish tacos are to die for. I hope that clears things up a bit.