If you're like me, when you pursuing food you want authentic flavors. Mexican food is one of my favorite genres of food, but it wasn't always this way. I went to Mexico in High School for three weeks in the Summer. We roughed it for most of the trip. At one point we were attacked by howler monkeys at Mayan ruins in the rainforest accessible only by boat. Another time, while we were staying at a "hotel" of traditional Mayan huts we were woken up in the middle of the night by a major drug deal happening on the river that was just steps from our hut's door. The food was nearly impossible to eat. What decided to stay down was not impressive. Other than the tortillas handmade in a stranger’s back yard, we had the worst food. All I wanted was a hamburger but what I got were patties with peppers and onions incorporated, and salsa instead of ketchup. It put me off Mexican for years.
Until one day, on a date, I was brought to Chavella's in Brooklyn. The original establishment doesn't exist anymore, but that little room changed me. Here was authentic Mexican food with clean flavors, and eccentric dishes I could use to adventure. Cactus tacos, braised beef tongue, slow cooked mole! Each surprise was better than the last. But, with Mexican restored to my palate, I couldn't take TexMex anymore. Douse my flautas with crema, but don't you dare touch my dish with sour cream. Cheddar cheese? For the love of God give me queso fresco, cotija, or chihuahua. And so this is how I cook Mexican food, with an eye for authenticity and nothing else.
But every once and a while, there are those Americanized faux-Mexican dishes that are delicious. And sweet pork tacos are one of those things. I'm used to cooking my carnitas in a dutch oven with nothing but salt and water, but that brown, syrupy sweet, chewy meat in a crispy shell is sometimes too much to deny.
So, I'm chasing that flavor. Below is what I was able to come up with. If you're trying to impress someone with Authentic Mexican food, you'll make a fool of yourself. But if you want something to bring to a picnic, or eat after a long night out: here it is.
Richly sweet, with some authentic flavors, but mostly pretty American.
Ingredients3 pounds Boneless Pork Shoulder / Butt, cut into 2 inch cubes
5 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons Salt
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Chili Powder (I use the seeds of Chipotle peppers that I run through a coffee grinder)
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (double this if you\'re a spice fiend)
1 teaspoon Cocoa Powder
1/4 cup Light Brown Sugar
Juice of 2 Limes
1 can of CocaCola
1 can of Light Beer