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Wanted: Great carnitas

chilibaby Jan 20, 2007 08:44 PM

I am reminiscing about the great carnitas one can find in San Diego and Baja... moist, delicious pork sold by the kilo (or fraction thereof) served with soft, hot-off-the-comal corn tortillas, fiery salsa, rice, refrieds, and maybe some lime and radish, as if you need the token vegetable.

Does anyone know a great carnitas place around - not a place to get a "carnitas" burrito - I can skip that. I can't imagine that there isn't somewhere in E Boston, Chelsea, JP, somewhere. sigh.

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  1. Sgt Snackers RE: chilibaby Jan 20, 2007 11:56 PM

    Oh man ... I am so with you on this one. Recently took a trip down to Tijuana from San Diego just to hit up Carnitas Ururapan. Divine.

    I think we had pretty good carnitas at Tacos El Charro in JP, but it was a while ago. Would love to hear what others have found.

    1. c
      chef poncho RE: chilibaby Jan 21, 2007 12:22 AM

      I hate to break to you, but I think that short of a trip back to the west coast you're not going to find a place like Carnitas Ururapan(used to be one of my favorites)in this area. In ten years here I haven't found the typical mercado I grew up with.

      One bright spot used to be Tacos El Charro in JP. Thats' my recommendation but I'm not sure if its still open.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chef poncho
        joe_jp RE: chef poncho Jan 21, 2007 04:48 PM

        Tacos El Charro was still in business last time I went by (maybe a few weeks ago). Haven't tried the carnitas there, but I'd be curious to hear how people think they compare.

      2. c
        chilibaby RE: chilibaby Jan 21, 2007 03:21 AM

        LOVE Carnitas Ururapan !!! Will have to revisit El Charro, but am also keen to see what else turns up...

        1. h
          hoohah RE: chilibaby Jan 21, 2007 05:39 PM

          Man, oh man. I always loved carnitas in San Diego. Could never find them here. I oredered them at Acapulco's in Beverly a year or so ago because it was the first time I found them anywhere. They were terrible. They can't be THAT hard to make, can they? I hope someone somewhere around here finds the real thing.

          1. 9
            9lives RE: chilibaby Jan 21, 2007 06:20 PM

            Haven't found much in the way of carnitas in Boston..but here's a link to a thread on the Mexico board that I just put up.

            To make them right isn't hard; but very time consuming.

            Bring back some memories..:)


            1 Reply
            1. re: 9lives
              Ally Cat RE: 9lives Feb 5, 2007 12:36 PM

              Used "your" recipe for superbowl yesterday, they were fabulous.

            2. finlero RE: chilibaby Jan 21, 2007 08:03 PM

              Not carnitas, but Tu y Yo in Somerville does a respectable cochinita pibil.

              I realize this is a bit like a hit of methadone for a heroin addict, but in the pantheon of Mexican dishes in the Boston area, it really is quite good.

              1. Johnresa RE: chilibaby Jan 21, 2007 09:13 PM

                Well I have had carnitas at Felipe in Harvard Square but I cannot give u a comaorison because it is the only time I have ever had that. I thought it was great but then again nothing to compare it to.

                1. MichaelB RE: chilibaby Jan 22, 2007 03:00 AM

                  This may not quite match your request; it certainly doesn't look like the pictures that 9lives posted about above, but my favorite carnitas in the area are at Taqueria El Amigo in Waltham.

                  Pluses: it's definitely been cooked for a long time in lard, so it's super-porky tasting; they sizzle it on the griddle before serving so it's crispy, not soupy like at most of the burrito places around (Anna's et al). Minuses: you certainly can't choose your cut of pork - I imagine it's all something fatty like shoulder; I don't think you can get it by the kilo, just in their excellent tortas and tacos (skip the burritos).

                  FWIW, I wasn't much impressed with Tacos El Charro on one visit there; I thought that El Amigo and Taqueria Mexico (also in Waltham) were much better.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MichaelB
                    MC Slim JB RE: MichaelB Jan 22, 2007 03:16 AM

                    Though I'm no carnitas connoisseur, I have to agree about El Amigo (it's my favorite Mexican anywhere in these parts). I think they may slow-roast theirs rather than braising them, doing a little lard fry-up just prior to serving for a little added grease. I order them as a filling for tacos especiales here.

                  2. t
                    texavi RE: chilibaby Jan 22, 2007 02:31 PM

                    As someone who has grown up in Texas and Mexico, I usually can't find a substitute for the food I grew up with. I have found a few recipes that have gotten me through these cravings and this is one that works for carnitas with pretty good results. It doesn't have a lot of the cripsy outer shell which I believe slow cooking them in lard would provide but it comes pretty close and the recipe makes a fair amount which I freeze and use for tacos when I get a hankering. Enjoy.


                    - Xavier

                    1. c
                      corduroy79 RE: chilibaby Jan 23, 2007 11:44 AM

                      i find that the carnitas tacos at felipe's are decent. i just get them with some onions, cilantro and lime like i used to have em in CA... but i think it'll be a while before we get the real thing here in the northeast...

                      1. b
                        Bostonbob3 RE: chilibaby Jan 23, 2007 11:55 AM

                        Strangely enough, I remember Romano's in Roslindale having pretty darn good carnitas tacos.

                        1. b
                          Bighead RE: chilibaby Jan 23, 2007 12:49 PM

                          Taquerai Mexico in Waltham is great, been hitting it for years. have taken many clients there from CA that wanted Mexican and they loved it. working here in Waltham for 6 years and never heard of Taq El Amigo, I will be there tomorrow!

                          1. c
                            chilibaby RE: chilibaby Jan 27, 2007 06:40 AM

                            Thanks for the suggestions; I haven't checked out the Waltham options, so it sounds like those are worth hitting.

                            1. o
                              orangecar RE: chilibaby Jan 27, 2007 09:12 AM

                              Plainville may be too far foy you, and I know the name of the town is not inviting.

                              But about a mile south of the Target on route 1 is Ranch Chico, a very original and tasty mexican place. Completely run & owned by spanish speakers.

                              I've never had their Carnita's, but everything else I've had there has been great!

                              1. j
                                JamesHH RE: chilibaby Feb 5, 2007 01:56 PM

                                Rosiretta Cancun (spelling?) right off of the Maverick T-Stop has some of the best carnitas I've had in boston. On a good day it rivals carnitas you would find in Southern California.

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