Quick and Easy Mild Pork Carnitas Tacos

Quick and Easy Mild Pork Carnitas Tacos – served with refried black beans, pico de gallo, cheese, and sour cream.

My youngest son has been describing the “perfect” taco he ate once in Arkansas of all places and I’ve been trying to recreate it for him. So far I’ve got the meat and pico de gallo (recipe) right; I’m still working on the queso sauce. Here’s the super easy and quick pork filling – fast because you cut it into tiny pieces before cooking instead of stewing it for hours in a crock pot and mild because the little bit of heat is controlled by the amount of red pepper flakes you add.

My oldest son stopped by and thankfully took over the meat cutting for me and the dogs enjoyed a bit of it when I dropped a bowl of cooked pork on the floor – my mishap was their what-the-heck-did-I-just-find-on-the-floor-whoo-hoo moment!

Recipe: Quick and Easy Mild Pork Carnitas Tacos
Leftover pork makes excellent salad addition.
Prep Time: 
Cooking Time: 
Total Time: 
  • 3 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 2 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy)
  • 3 pounds pork shoulder, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 10-12 (5½-inch) yellow corn tortillas or whole wheat flour tortillas
  • Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
  • Cooking time: 20 minute(s)
  • Number of servings (yield): 8
  1. In a small bowl combine salt, chipotle chile powder, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes.
  2. Sprinkle dry rub over cut pork shoulder; toss to coat.
  3. Let the meat stand 30 minutes.
  4. In large, heavy skillet (not non-stick) warm the vegetable oil over medium heat. Carefully add the seasoned pork (don’t overcrowd the pan – cook in two batches or two pans if necessary).
  5. Sear on all sides and then cook 15-20 minutes or until the meat is golden brown and crusty. Be careful to preserve the crust by only stirring as necessary.
  6. To serve, lay the warmed corn tortillas open face and overlapping on a serving platter. Divide the meat filling equally amongst the tortillas and top with your favorite toppings. I suggest cheese, pico de gallo, refried black beans, sour cream, etc.
  7. Fold and eat.