Have you ever had a torta? It’s basically all the best things about a traditional Mexican taco but in sandwich form, and with mayo (which means I’m going to be into it, don’t judge me). Tortas can be really simple, with just some carnitas or carne asada, onion, cilantro, jalapeños, and mayo. Or they can be these crazy mile-high amalgamations of breakfast, lunch, and dinner in one with things like beans, eggs, hot dogs, steak, cheese, avocado, salsa, pickled onions, ETC. It can be intense. I’ve loved every torta I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on, but if I have some freshly cooked pork butt on hand, this simple version is likely the first thing I’m making.
I don’t have easy access to a bakery that makes proper torta rolls (bolillos) so I just use a soft-ish sandwich bun and it works. My understanding of carnitas is basically that it’s crispy pulled pork. I’m sure experts will tell me there’s much more to it, but whatever, this is simple and it is delicious.
Slow-Cooker Carnitas Tortas
makes two tortas
about 1 1/2 cups cooked and shredded pork butt (a.k.a. shoulder (prepared in the slow cooker like this))
1-2 Tbsp pork fat (from the slow cooker butt roast)
2 rolls – bolillos if you can find them and want to be authentic, brioche or kaiser if you aren’t up to that (I wasn’t)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 tsp cumin
1/2 small clove garlic, grated or minced (or a pinch of garlic powder)
2-3 Tbsp finely diced white or yellow onion
1 Tbsp minced cilantro
Cholula hot sauce
1. Make a slow cooker pork butt. It takes time (about 8 hours), but the rewards are incredible. Read about that here.
2. In a sauté pan, heat 1/2 Tbsp pork fat over medium heat. Split and toast your rolls in the fat and set aside.
3. In the same pan, still on medium, add the rest of the pork fat and pile in the shredded pork. Break it up if necessary to heat through, taste and add a pinch of salt if necessary, then spread the pork in an even layer over the pan and leave it for a about 5 minutes to get crispy.
4. While your pork is cooking, mix together mayo, cumin, and garlic with a pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.
5. Dice your onion and mince your cilantro and combine. Slice an avocado and a few lime wedges.
6. Assemble your tortas with the split and toasted buns, a pile of crispy shredded pork, a generous dollop of cumin garlic mayo, a pile of onions and cilantro, some avocado slices, a squeeze of lime, and a few drops of Cholula. Eat.