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Apr 10, 2011 01:16 PM

Braised Pork Tacos: Bitter

Hi all, I've made pork tacos from a couple of different recipes and both times the liquid has turned out quite bitter. This isn't the recipe I used, but is pretty similar:
These recipes all seem to have in common the inclusion of citrus rinds: squeeze orange or lime juice in before roasting and throw the rinds in for added flavor.
Anyone else encountered this issue? I'd love to do this more often but my experiences have made me gunshy.

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  1. Reading the recipe I see they want you to add the soaking liquid from the chilis, sometimes that liquid can be bitter. Taste it before adding, if it's bitter I substitute either water or chicken broth. I've read that some people also add coca-cola. When I braise pork I use milk.

    Hope that helps.

    1 Reply
    1. re: starkoch

      The chile soaking liquid can most definitely be a factor, and tasting before adding it is very solid advice (Mark Miller got me doing this back in the early 90s). It seems like the recipe has a double whammy for that bitter element when you factor in this alongside with the citrus rinds.

    2. It's the rinds for sure, I don't know why people keep saying in recipes just squeeze the lime etc then throw in the rind, I see this and it's bad advice! Anything white in the citrus you don't want in your sauce. If you want the zest which has all the oils and flavor, I either use a zester which digs small channels in it or I use a peeler to carefully remove only the part which has color, nothing white! Cause that is the bitter part. I also find a little goes a long way. It also won't ruin anything to just use the juice and skip the zest. I am sure this will help.

      1. I concur about the rinds- you really only want the outermost zest, not the bitter white part.

        My suggestion- use a recipe for carnitas!

        A very simple OJ one:

        and one that uses Coke:

        and another that's got some basic seasonings added- note the comments that follow the recipe; one person did it in a slow cooker. You can add anchos or chipotles if you want to spice it up more.

        2 Replies
        1. re: eclecticsynergy

          Thanks for all the responses--you guys are the best! I'll try keeping out the rinds and just doing the zest. Seems obvious in hindsight that having all that pith in there for hours wouldn't be a good idea but no recipes I've seen warn about it! I'll report back next time I make some tacos. Or maybe I'll just switch to carnitas as per eclectic:) Thanks again!

          1. re: JohnCash

            use a microplane for getting just the zest. never put rinds in anything to stew or braise. hours of bitterness soaking into everything. yuk.