We all suffer from leftover overload every now and then, but there is no reason to relegate them to the trash when you can repurpose them for a delicious brand-new dish! The concept, referred to as “cook once, eat twice,” is perfectly highlighted in this taquitos recipe from Sterling “Big Poppa” Ball that utilizes leftovers from his authentic copper pot carnitas recipe here!
In it, fall-apart-tender carnitas and quesadilla cheese are rolled in corn tortillas and then deep-fried until crispy. The taquitos are then served along with Big Poppa’s coleslaw, Mexican crema, smokey homemade salsa, and grilled guacamole. Carnitas taquitos are perfect for gatherings, weeknight dinners, or any time you’re craving a fiesta of flavors on your plate.
Note: This recipe is brought to you by Cooking with Big Poppa. Be sure to check out the Big Poppa Smokers’ website here for even more great recipes and for a variety of BBQ and grilling gear including the rubs and sauce used in this recipe!
- 1 griddle or griddle plate
- 1 large pot, Dutch oven, or deep fryer
- 12 Toothpicks
Big Poppa's Coleslaw
- 8 ounces pre-shredded cabbage
- 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon Big Poppa’s Little Louies Seasoning
- 1 3/4 cups leftover carnitas
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
- 12 5-inch corn tortillas
- 1 3/4 cups shredded quesadilla cheese
- Sunflower oil for deep frying, as needed
- 1/3 cup smokey homemade salsa verde (you can substitute your favorite jarred salsa)
- 1/3 cup Mexican crema (you can substitute sour cream if you don't have access to the slightly thicker and richer Mexican crema)
- 12 ounces grilled guacamole (you can also use regular homemade or store-bought guacamole)
- 2 Sliced pickled jalapenos (optional)
These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page
- Prep. Prepare Big Poppa’s coleslaw by combining the shredded cabbage with the juice of one lime and Big Poppa’s Little Louies Seasoning in a large bowl. Toss the ingredients until the cabbage is nicely coated and ready to add a zesty crunch to your carnitas plates.
- Shred the leftover carnitas. Set aside while you preheat a standalone griddle or a griddle plate.
- Fire up. Preheat your griddle to 350°F (167°C). Your griddle should be sizzling and ready to go. Spread 1/2 tablespoon sunflower oil over the surface of the griddle for searing and crisping the carnitas.
- Cook. Sear the carnitas by placing your delicious leftover carnitas on the preheated griddle. Let them sizzle until they’re seared to perfection. For an extra burst of flavor, incorporate a spoonful or two of the Mexican salsa over the carnitas as they sizzle away. Set the warmed carnitas aside.
- Warm up your corn tortillas, making them pliable enough to roll without breaking. You can do this by placing them on the griddle for a short time. Or, brush both sides of each tortilla with safflower oil then seal inside a ziplock bag and microwave until the tortillas are pliable, approximately 30-60 seconds depending on the power of your microwave. This step ensures your tacos will be easy to roll and delightful to bite into.
- Prep again. To assemble the taquitos, lay out the first corn tortilla and sprinkle a generous 1/8 cup of shredded quesadilla cheese down the center. Top the cheese with a generous 1/8 cup of the seared carnitas, allowing enough room to roll the tortilla tightly around the cheese and meat. Roll up the tortilla firmly to form a taquito, then use a toothpick to secure the roll crosswise through the middle. Repeat this process for all 12 tortillas.
- Fire up again. Add the deep-frying oil to a large pot or Dutch oven, about 3 to 4 inches deep so that the taquitos will be completely submerged. Fire up your grill in a 2-zone setup. Put the pot on the hot side and bring the oil temp up to about 350°F (167°C). If it goes higher, dial down the gas or move the pot off of the flames onto the indirect side. Don’t let it go above 400°F (204°C) or it could start smoking. Alternatively, you could fry them in the same manner on the stovetop or you can use a stand-alone deep fryer.
- Cook again. In batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding, carefully place the taquitos into the hot oil and fry until they are golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes per batch. Once the taquitos are cooked, carefully remove them from the hot oil using a spider, slotted spoon, or tongs and place them on several layers of paper towels to drain briefly.
- Serve. Lay down a bed of the prepared coleslaw on your six serving plates, dividing it evenly. Place two taquitos on top of the coleslaw on each plate. Drizzle some of the salsa verde or your favorite jarred salsa and Mexican Crema over the taquitos. Add 1 to 2 scoops of grilled guacamole on the side. If you'd like a little extra heat, add a few sliced pickled jalapenos. Serve immediately while the taquitos are still warm and crispy.