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Wanted: Great carnitas

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. 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. 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

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

        1. 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. 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

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

            2. 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. 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. 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

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

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

                            1. 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. 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.