National Taco Day Recipes

October 4 marks National Taco Day, and we’re celebrating with some recipes from local chefs. Whether you prefer pork or chicken, whip up a couple of these traditional Mexican dishes and enjoy!

Braised Pork Tacos (recipe courtesy of Chef Julien Gremaud of the Avocado Grill)

Braised Pork Ingredients:

  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) boneless pork shoulder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, cut into wedges, root end attached
  • 4 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped oregano leaves, half a palmful
  • 1 red chile, thinly sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4 oranges, juiced about 2 cups

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Season the pork generously with salt and pepper to taste, and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Pat the pork dry with a paper towel. Heat a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over high heat with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 2 turns of the pan. Put the pork in the pot and evenly brown the meat all over, it will take about 10 to 12 minutes; remove the pork to a plate and reserve.

Turn heat down to medium-high, and add the extra-virgin olive oil to the pot, a couple of turns of the pan. Add the onions and garlic, salt and pepper to taste, the oregano, 1 sliced chili pepper and 2 bay leaves and cook for 7 to 8 minutes. Deglaze the pot with the beer, scraping up the bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Stir in the chicken stock and orange juice. Add the reserved pork back to the pot (the liquid should come about 2/3 the way up the meat) and bring to a simmer. Cover and put the pork in the oven, turning the meat halfway through cooking, until the meat is very tender, about 2 1/2-3 hours. Remove the pork from the pot, to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. When cool enough to handle, pull the meat apart with 2 forks.

Heat flour tortillas until warm. Place flat on a plate and top with shredded pork and fruit salsa, and drizzle with tomatillo sauce.

Fruit Salsa Ingredients:

  • Diced apple
  • Diced pineapple
  • Tomatillo
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Diced red onion

Chop all ingredients and mix together. Set aside in a bowl.

Tomatillo Sauce Ingredients:

  • Roasted tomatillo
  • Diced red onion
  • Jalapeno 

Blend tomatillo, red onion, and jalapeno in a blender. Slowly add olive oil and lime juice. Set aside.

For Chef Clayton Carnes’ recipe for spiced chicken tacos, continue to page 2.

Spiced Chicken Tacos (recipe courtesy of Chef Clayton Carnes of Cholo Soy Cocina)


  • 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 diced white onion
  • 1/2 chopped bell pepper
  • 1 tsp. ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. achiote paste
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped chipotle peppers in adobo
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Chopped scallions
  • Warm corn tortillas (freshly made or store bought)

Roast chicken, onion, bell pepper, all spices at 325° for 4 to 6 hours or until the chicken pulls apart with ease. Once cooked, transfer chicken to cutting board. Using two forks, shred chicken breast. To prepare tacos, warm corn tortillas in a dry skillet over high heat, flipping the tortilla on both sides to warm them through. Add small spoonfuls of cooked chicken in a line on the center of tortillas. Add purple cabbage slaw alongside chicken, and finish by adding small spoonfuls of spicy mayo. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and scallions if desired.

Purple Cabbage Slaw Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small red cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. lime juice

Add cabbage, red onion, and cilantro to a medium mixing bowl. Pour lime juice and canola oil over top and season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat.

Spicy Mayo Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 tsp. hot sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice, fresh
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 

Combine hot sauce and lime juice into mayonnaise, mix well, and refrigerate until ready to use.

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