Pork Tinga Tostadas + The Meat Book
Pork Tinga simmered and crisped and served on tostadas with great toppings, packed with Tex-Mex flavor. From the Cook's Illustrated Meat Book.
Pork Tinga Tostadas + The Meat BookJump to Recipe
Welcome to Cookbook Week on Macheesmo! I’ll be posting recipes from five cookbooks this week and giving away copies! All winners will be announced next Friday (11/14).
Carnitas, crisp little fried bits of pork, are probably at the top of my list when it comes to traditional taco toppings. I assume I’m not alone here.
One problem though: Real pork carnitas takes a full work day to really do correctly. I make them occasionally (Grilled pork carnitas) and they are a delicious and fun food project. Not something you make on a whim though.
This recipe for Pork Tinga is from this other category of Mexican fillings called tinga. It’s an all encompassing word that basically means shredded meat. Generally though tinga is used for fillings (empanadas, etc.) because while it’s very flavorful, it doesn’t have a lot of texture to it.
This genius recipe though, from the new Cook’s Illustrated Meat Book, fixes the issue by using Pork Tinga (which takes about two hours instead of 10) and then crisps it up in a skillet.
Those Cook’s Illustrated people are smart. We knew this.
Pork Tinga Tostadas
- Serves 6
- Prep Time:
- Total Time:
Did you make this?
Snap a photo and tag @macheesmo so I can see your work.
Pork Tinga simmered and crisped and served on tostadas with great toppings, packed with Tex-Mex flavor. From the Cook’s Illustrated Meat Book.
1) Cube pork and add to a large pot with quartered onion, smashed garlic cloves, thyme sprigs, dried peppers, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 6-7 cups water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
2) Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until pork is tender, 75-90 minutes. Skim off any fat as it cooks.
3) Drain pork, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. Discard the add-ins. Shred pork into shreds using fingers or fork.
4) When ready to serve, heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shredded pork, diced onion, and dried oregano. Cook until pork is crispy and well-browned, 7-10 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
5) Add tomato sauce, chile powder, bay leaves, and 1 cup of reserved cooking liquid. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 6 minutes. Remove bay leaves and season with salt to taste.
6) For tostadas, heat a good drizzle of vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Poke a few holes in a corn tortilla with a fork and add to skillet. Use something like a potato masher to hold tortilla and keep it submerged in oil. Fry until it’s lightly browned and crispy, 45-60 seconds. Drain on a paper towel.
You can fry the tostadas and keep them warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to eat. They are fine at room temp also.
Top fried tostadas with pork tinga and toppings!
Cooking The Pork
When you make carnitas, it usually involves roasting a whole pork butt slowly for hours and hours which creates a delicious crispy crust on the pork.
This method skips all of that. Instead, it focuses on cooking the pork relatively quickly and infusing it with lots of flavor.
You start by just cubing up about three pounds of pork butt. I recommend cutting off any large pieces of fat.
Add these a pot with a quartered onion, some smashed garlic cloves, a few thyme sprigs, and some dried chiles. The dried chiles weren’t in the original recipe, but I figured they couldn’t hurt and I always suck at following recipes perfectly.
Bring this all to a simmer and simmer it over medium-low heat for about 90 minutes until the pork is really tender.
You know there’s a lot of flavor in a pot like this.
Strain the liquid and save it. That stuff is seriously gold. You’ll want to use some of it later in this Pork Tinga recipe (about a cup) but you can freeze the rest and basically have a delicious pork stock for soups or any tex-mex base.
Then shred that pork into good-sized shreds.
Finishing the Pork Tinga
The genius part of this recipe is that you don’t just serve the pork like this. Instead, shred it all and add it back to a skillet with some oil over medium-high heat. Add in some diced onion as well and the pork will crisp up in the hot oil.
Then add the tomato sauce and about a cup of reserved cooking liquid. Season the mix with some dried oregano, chipotle chile powder, and salt to taste.
Once most of the liquid has evaporated you’re ready to go.
I make tostadas like this a lot. Just add some oil to a skillet and then add in a small corn tortilla. Poke it with a fork a few times to let out the steam and cook it until it’s crispy. It should only take a minute or two to make one.
Then let it drain on a paper towel and keep pumping them out until you have enough to serve.
Pile some Pork Tinga on the tostada with all the necessary toppings: queso fresco? Avocado? Cilantro? Hot sauce? Lettuce? Limes? All of the above?
Two or three of these bad boys makes a really delicious meal. It’s also the perfect game day dish.
Tinga is a thinga!
Okay. Let’s talk cookbook!
I’ve been a big fan of the America’s Test Kitchen crew for as long as I can remember. Their recipes are always some of the most tested and reliable out there so when they come out with a full tome of a cookbook like this, you know it’s gonna be good.
Okay… obviously this book isn’t for vegetarians, but if you’re a meat lover, then it’s a great addition to your shelves. It has over 400 recipes and describes great ways to cook everything from poached chicken to full pork roasts. It’s one of those books that I can pretty much guarantee I’ll use regularly just because it’s a resource as much as it is a recipe book.
I’m using Rafflecopter to manage these giveaways, but if the widget below doesn’t load for you… no worries! You can always just leave a comment to be entered to win.
Check back tomorrow for another great cookbook giveaway!
About MacheesmoRead More
Hello! My name is Nick Evans and I write and manage Macheesmo. I started Macheesmo 11 years ago when I was just learning my way around the kitchen. I love to cook and love everything food-related, but I have no formal training. These days I focus on fast, accessible recipes with the occasional “reach” recipe!
I’ve posted almost 2,000 recipes on Macheesmo. For each one, I do my best to give full explanations of what I did and tips on what I’d do differently next time. I’ll bring up the tricky parts and the easy parts.
I hope you can find something and cook something!
98 Responses to “Pork Tinga Tostadas + The Meat Book” Leave a comment
Might have to make these next weekend. They look great!
I try to pick up the Cook’s Illustrated magazine because they are just good reading and the recipes outstanding. Will have to try these Tingas. We have a Mexican restaurant here, but not always easy to get in and this would be a solution when we have to cook at home.
What is the liquid in the pot that is used during the simmering? I can’t find it mentioned anywhere. Larry
Hey Larry, it’s just water. After the simmer though, it ends up being a pretty delicious stock because of the dried peppers, onions, garlic, and pork.
This looks great, I’ve always loved America’s Test Kitchen recipes. Thanks for the giveaway.
Love, love Mexican food, but don’t always have the time to make it. This sounds like a great shortcut.
Hoo boy these look good! One of the disadvantages of not having lots of people to cook for anymore is that it’s hard to find meat dishes that serve just a few. I could see adapting this to make a smaller amount. Yum.
I have never had “real” carnitas, but you can never go wrong with an America’s Test Kitchen recipe! I am definitely going to try this one!
I am always looking for ideas for cooking meat :)
Great looking recipe.. Do you have a recipe for the tortilla with out a press? I have a big bag of Maseca Instant Corn masa Flour that needs to be used.
Rolling pin works too. A little oils on it helps.
I have become a great fan of Cook’s Illustrated over the years! Have never been steered wrong by them! This pork is going on my “Have to make” list!
This recipe looks delicious…can’t wait to try it out! Your blog is great! Thanks for posting these recipes!
this looks incredible!! I think even my Mexican-food-hating boyfriend could get on board with these.
These look great!!! I have them on my list for this weekend :)
I love this idea of having a cookbook week. I might do that, having so many to review right now. Everyone wins and you get to try new recipes. Great thinking! Great cooking!
i love mexican food. its really easy to make and so flavorful!
These look so good!!!
Ther is nothing better than a shortcut Mexican recipe, thx Nick!
Never tried these before, but the photos make this so appealing so I will have to try them. Thanks for sharing!
I’ve been wanting to make carnitas for forever but thought it was too time consuming. Can’t wait to try this simplified version!
Glad to see there’s a way to make carnitas that won’t take all day. I’m looking forward to trying this one.
i love how this dish looks, and now am very hungry, lol! gave to try it :) you have such great recipes with great pics! love America’s Test Kitchen, used to watch them all the time and i am such a carnivore!! nom nom BACON!!!!! :D do we get notified by email if we won? thanks so much :)
Hey Cindy! Yep. I’ll email the winners and ask for shipping address info. :) Good luck!
Oh my – these look wonderful! Might have to make this our next Saturday meal…
Those look really good. I might have to try that soon!
Your recipe looks great!!! I might have to try it with book club night!!
These sound delicious, and so much faster than traditional carnitas!
Those look amazing, nice trick to cut down the cooking time
You sound like me — I can’t follow a recipe to save my life. But somebody better have followed *my* recipe to the letter before they tell me it didn’t turn out for them! :D
Ha. Yes… that sounds about right. :)
These look amazing. Do you think the cooking of the pork could happen in a slow cooker? Could take a weekend-only recipe and turn it into a weeknight favorite!
Definitely trying this out soon!
Your pictures are beautiful! I remember watching this dish when they featured this dish on one of their shows, but it looks even better here. And what’s better than turning cheap pork butt into dinner!
I love short cuts. These look great. I love the ATK people’s approach to cooking.
I love Cooks, also Kenji Lopez-Alt has done a fantastic fast Carnitas over at Serious Eats. The addition of the dried chiles here sounds wonderful!
My first love CARNITAS …..My second love YOU
holy smokes that looks good! I’d love to win this book — I’m getting WAY more confident with meat.
I happen to have some leftover pork shoulder and now I know what’s for dinner tonight.
Great recipe! I’m always looking for ways to easily make stock while making a tasty meal and this looks perfect. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!
great, am sharing—
This looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it!
Do you brown the cubed pork before simmering with the rest of the ingredients?
Nope! No need since you brown it all at the end. You could though if you wanted.
Have a pork shoulder in the freezer that this recipe would go well with.
This looks delicious. We often just stick pork in the crockpot but I think we’ll try this next time.
Looks super yummy!
Amazing! Totally making this for a dinner party tomorrow! Can’t ever go wrong with a recipe inspired by good old Kimball and Co.
Love Americas test kitchen…best part of this recipe for me is that once I’ve had my fill of the carnitas version, I can make soup from the rest of the pork and broth…when cooking for one I love recipes I can reimagine in multiple ways.
Add some Mexican Crema. You can find it in a Mexican mercado, if you live in the southwest. Delish.
Ha! I just made something very similar to this the other day with some leftover pulled pork. :-) Also, if you think it takes all day to make a roast tender, you *seriously* need a pressure cooker. I make a fanstastic (and tender!) pot roast in mine and it only takes about 45 minutes for a 3 lb roast. :-)
this will be a great Christmas gift!
I love carnitas, and I can’t wait to try this!
our family really enjoys meals like this, this recipe is one I could do for watching the game on Sunday w/family & friends – we really like pork and all the different seasonings and spices or chutneys & marinades are excellent choices for dinner – thanks for a chance to win this cookbook it’s one I don’t have yet
This looks great! Loving the book, my husband would be quite chuffed with it.
This is my favorite method for carnitas – very similar to what you have here, but using only 1 pot. Try it sometime!
You’ve got my mouth watering over here!
I love the thoughts of this book. I look up so many tips on line & they are all in one book now
I’ve got a couple of Arbol peppers left over from making Menudo so I’m going to give this a try, I know my kids and husband will love this recipe. Thanks for the photos also.
Love America’s Test Kitchen. Their cookbooks are always huge! I love all the recipes and tips, but I think they weigh more than my 3 yr old.
I have a weakness for pork. this has me drooling
I think I’m least accomplished when it comes to cooking meats, especially roasts. This would be a perfect addition to my cookbook collection.
Yum! this looks great!!
Pork shoulder is my favorite cut of meat.
I am a huge Cook’s Illustrated fan. I am kind of upset that I did not know about this book. I was raised a vegetarian and I am currently learning how to cook meat. This book would be a great tool for me to have further learning on the subject.
These look amazing! I’ve made carnitas before and just not fried/grilled them before slapping them in a taco (courtesy of this recipe from Club Narwhal http://clubnarwhal.blogspot.com/2013/05/slow-cooker-carnitas.html), but I’ll definitely have to try these! I love crispy textures, but I just don’t have the time to make proper carnitas normally.
Looks like a decent slow cooker recipe as well!
shouldn’t look at the photos before dinner, I’m so hungry right now :)
also, is this giveaway open worldwide or only for us citizens?
Yes. I believe the publisher will only ship to a US Address (you don’t need to be a US citizen though)…
I would love this book!
I have been eyeing this book.
I’m hoping for a chance at winning!
Ohhh I can’t wait to make these soon! Looks excellent.
Hard to beat good carnitas. Can’t wait to try.
My family would love these
I would love to try these
Cooks Illustrated, Cooks Country, ATK…I’ve been a loyal subscriber for years and to live with a “meat & potatoes man” this cook book would be very welcome to my kitchen arsenal.
I love all the pork!
Looks great! I rarely cook pork for mexican recipes, but I clearly should start.
Wow = this looks great. Would love this booK!
I’ve been a fan of ATK and CI for a long time, but I just found your blog. I’m so excited to read what you have to say. The recipe looks great. Thanks for the giveaway!
I know, I love Cook’s Illustrated too!!! And Cook’s Country, America’s Test Kitchen, americastestkitchenfeed, the radio show, pretty much everything they put out in every format, I love it! :)
YUM! Wow, this cookbook looks awesome!
My mouth is watering…..must try this one :)
Yummy! I am so hungry after this post!
Love how you make the recipe your own with the dried chiles – looking forward to trying these!
I love Cook’s Illustrated!
You won me at “pork.”
I just saw this book on Saturday at Costco and I almost bought it but didn’t because I was carrying two boxes of wood laminate flooring at the time. I’ll have to go back and get it.
Will be buying some pork butt tomorrow. Can’t wait.
Man, this looks awesome. May be trying to pull it together this weekend. Can’t wait!
I have had this made for me and it was so darn good!
2 questions for ya…
1. Can I put this in a slow cooker?
2. Can I use a pork loin instead? I know very little about the pig, unfortunately.
Hey Mandy! 1) Definitely! Cook in on low for 6-8 hours until it’s shreddable. 2) I wouldn’t. Pork loin is very lean and doesn’t do very well for long cooking times like this. It also doesn’t shred very well. I would stick to pork butt or pork shoulder for this one! Good luck!
These are so good; the recipe is nicely-written and was fun & easy to follow. I’m also a big fan of COOK’S ILLUSTRATED/AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN.. they seem to always find the best way of doing everything, don’t they?
I like to keep the toppings simple and fresh. Fresh diced avocado drizzled with lime juice to keep it from going brown, cilantro, homemade salsa fresca (raw) and some crema (sour cream thinned out with buttermilk gives the same result as crema) is my favorite way to top these delicious ‘tings. Thanks for sharing!