Carne Enchilada (pork taco)Steven Raichlen
Other Recipes from Planet Barbecue Episode 105: Mexi-que
Johnny Hernandez may be the busiest man in San Antonio. Chef, restaurateur, arts patron, and philanthropist, he presides over an empire that includes 11 restaurants, a stone-ground tortilla factory, and yes, a fleet of La Gloria Margarita trucks. His mission is simple–promote the authentic Mexican cuisine of his Nuevo Leon and Michuacan forebears. He has cooked for Barack Obama in the White House and created Day of the Dead River Parade and Festival that have become San Antonio institutions. Thanks to his tireless efforts, in 2017, UNESCO designated San Antonio a Creative City of Gastronomy. Like most Mexican-Americans, Johnny grew up eating carne asados at family Sunday cookouts. Pork marinated in adobo (dried chili paste), grilled over a hot fire, and served in tacos—it’s Mexican comfort food at its best.
Carne Enchilada (pork taco)
For the adobo:
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- Coarse salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 2 pequin chiles (optional)
- 1 to 2 guajillo chiles, stemmed, seeded, and soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, then skinned (scrape off the flesh with a knife)
- 1 to 2 ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and soaked in hot water for 20 minutes
- Juice of 1/2 to 1 lime
- Juice of 1/2 orange
- One boneless center-cut pork shoulder, sliced across the grain into 1/4-inch steaks, (about 2 pounds total)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 fresh corn tortillas
- Fresh pico de gallo
- Sliced avocado
- Diced white onion
- Chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Lime wedges
You’ll also need:
- A molcajete or large mortar and pestle (optional)
1: Make the adobo: Preferably a molcajete (Mexican lava stone mortar and pestle), begin by crushing half the garlic cloves with a sprinkle of salt. Add the remaining garlic cloves and continue to mash. Add the pequins, if using (they are hot!), as well as the guajillo and ancho chiles. Thin the adobo with the lime and orange juices.
2: Lay the pork slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Paint them with the adobo on both sides and season with salt and pepper.
3: Set up your grill for direct grilling and heat to high. Brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the pork in a single layer on the grate and grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until sizzling and browned. Remove from the grill and let the meat rest on a wire rack over a rimmed sheet pan.
4: Warm the tortillas on the grill grate for 15 seconds or so; do not toast.
5: Slice the steaks crosswise into strips. To serve, pile the meat on a warm tortilla and top with any or all of the condiments suggested above.
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Steven Raichlen’s Planet Barbecue is a production of Barbacoa, Inc., and Resolution Pictures. © 2023 Barbacoa, Inc. Photos by Chris Bierlein