Oaxaca-style Smoky Shredded Pork Tacos

Although I’ve been to Mexico and live in southern California where there are plenty of great Mexican restaurants I also enjoy cooking Mexican food. If I’m not actually getting a recipe from a Latino friend my go-to cookbooks are any of those of chef and cookbook author Rick Bayless’s, especially his earlier ones. This recipe from Oaxaca in Mexico called tacos de picadillo oaxaqueño is adapted from Bayless’s recipe who recommends that the meat be chopped and not ground. This filling could go into tamales or enchiladas but putting it on soft corn tortillas for tacos is excellent. If you have never heard of or used canned chipotle chiles in adobo you will be surprised to find them in all supermarkets with other canned goods. Serve as an appetizer this is a delightful way to start an entirely Mexican dinner.

Tacos de Picadillo Oaxaqueño
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 6 to 8
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of fat and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 5 large garlic cloves, 2 finely chopped and 3 left whole with their skin
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1¼ pounds ripe tomatoes
  • 3 chipotle chiles in adobo
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • 2 ½ tablespoons pork lard, divided
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground cloves (2 cloves)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 16 corn tortillas
  • ½ cup crumbled Mexican queso panela or other Mexican cheese or farmer’s cheese
  • Red Sauce (optional)
  1. Place the pork in a 3-quart saucepan with the chopped garlic and half the onion and cover just barely with salted water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, skim the foam off the top, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered until very tender, about 1 ½ hours. Cool the meat in the broth, then remove and shred the meat using two forks.
  2. Heat an un-greased cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, then cook the unpeeled garlic until soft, about 15 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove the garlic and peel. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the broiler. Arrange the tomatoes in a broiling pan and roast about 4-inches under the broiler flame or heating element until the skin is blackened, about 6 minutes. Turn and roast the other side until blackened, about another 4 minutes. Remove the tomatoes and set aside. Leave the broiler on, and place the almonds under the broiler on a small metal tray until they are lightly browned, about 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside. Cool both the tomatoes and almonds. Once the tomatoes are cool, peel, and collect all the tomato juices in the pan. Place the tomatoes in a food processor and pulse with the canned chipotle chilies and soft cooked garlic until a medium-fine puree.
  4. In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon lard over medium-high heat, add the tomato purée and cook until it thickens, about 5 minutes, stirring. Turn the heat off, season with salt, and set aside until needed.
  5. In a 12-inch non-stick skillet, heat the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons lard over medium-high heat. Once the lard starts to smoke, add the shredded meat and the remaining half onion. Cook until the pork is crispy and golden, about 12 to 14 minutes, stirring frequently and scraping brown bits up. Sprinkle with cinnamon, pepper, cloves, and raisins, then pour in the tomato purée. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the almonds to the meat and correct the seasoning.
  6. Place the corn tortillas in a kitchen towel and wrap them up. Place the wrapped tortillas in the steamer portion of a steamer with 2 inches of water in the bottom portion and bring to a boil, keeping the top tightly covered. Once it reaches a boil, turn it off and let the tortillas sit for 15 minutes. To serve, hold a tortilla in your hand and fill with the cheese and shredded meat. Top with Red Sauce if you like.


Speak Your Mind


Rate this recipe:  

Site maintained by StudioSJS