Street food: Carnitas

Tuba Skinny, Jubilee Stomp


We seldom eat in restaurants—it’s expensive, it’s unreliable, and it’s just too much trouble. Anyways, I always felt more comfortable in the back, behind the swinging kitchen doors, with the loud music, cursing chefs, plastic 7-11 cups, hot ovens, and sharp knives. However, the Sweetie and I do clean up good and have ventured into the string-quartet, champagne-glass environment of fancy, high-end restaurants: Chinois in Los Angeles, Chez Panisse in Berkeley, and Blackbird in Chicago, to name a few. As enjoyable as those occasions were, my favorite dining experiences have not been in the beautiful, the gleaming, or the posh.

I’ll choose fish tacos at a no-name spot on an ocean terrace in Baja, California, roasted corn at the Washington State Fair, a short rib slider on a Wilshire Boulevard curb in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, falafel from a street cart in Tel Aviv, a pupusa at the Des Moines, Iowa Farmers Market, bibimbap at a Spanaway strip mall spot, a tastebud-tingling banh mi from a Portland food truck, shucked oysters at a walk-up bar in New Orleans, a lobster roll from a beach shack in Rockport, Maine—all priceless.

So when Ginny came for a visit last week, we wanted a lunch adventure and headed for a taco truck the Sweetie and I pass every time we go to Costco. It’s one of a line-up on Marvin Road which includes two more taco trucks and a Texas barbecue stand billowing smoke out the back side of the trailer. We lined up behind worker guys wearing yellow hard hats, feeling more confident with our choice—hard-hat guys always know where to find a good taco. Ginny ordered  a carnitas plate and I chose a chorizo torta. Both orders were delicious, with enough food to feed four of those hard hat guys.

I’ve been looking for the soul of Lacey ever since we moved here. Maybe it’s there with the taco trucks—across the street from the Bud Barn, next to the Aztec Bowling Alley.

We have bounced forward into Daylight Savings Time and the days are getting longer. Soon, winter will have no choice but to concede and let the sun shine in. Here are a few promises of color to come.

If you want to see a larger view of one of the “gallery,” click on the picture and it will enlarge.

Carnitas 

3-5 pound pork butt or pork shoulder 

Rub for pork: 

  • One tablespoon Cajun seasoning: 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 2 ½ teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Two tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried chipotle powder 
  • One teaspoon ground black pepper 

Place pork in a large bowl or roasting pan. Rub mixture all over pork and cover bowl with plastic wrap; transfer to refrigerator for 6 hours and up to overnight. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Transfer pork to a large roasting pan, discarding any accumulated juices (or drain accumulated juices from roasting pan that pork is in). Transfer roasting pan to oven and cook, basting every hour with rendered fat in roasting pan, until meat is tender and easily shredded with a fork, 4-6 hours.

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2 Responses to Street food: Carnitas

  1. Barb says:

    Ahhhhhhh. Once again you make me long to travel and eat in no name food trucks. Love the music. New Orleans is on my bucket list. Love you

  2. Kathy says:

    You and Bob have been everywhere! All of the food sounds delicious! I’m trying to place where these trucks are. There’s also a very good Mexican place right by Meconi’s. We’ve ordered several times from them. I’m happy to see you getting out a bit. Life has really messed with us this last year. Hoping this is a better year.

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