IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Cola Braised Pork Tacos

Marcela Valladolid's Cola-Brasied Pork Tacos
Marcela Valladolid's Cola-Brasied Pork TacosTODAY
Cook Time:
1 hr 30 mins
Prep Time:
20 mins


  • pounds fatty pork shoulder, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup cola, preferably Coca-Cola
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh tarragon
  • Warmed corn tortillas, for serving
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion, for serving
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Salsa verde, for serving

Chef notes

There's no lard needed in this healthier version of traditional Mexican carnitas. It's also sweeter and more caramelized tasting because of the cola. Best of all? It can be made with minimal effort for a very easy weeknight dinner.

Technique tip: Make sure the cooking liquid doesn't dry out. Add more water if needed.



Season the pork heavily on both sides with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Transfer to a heavy Dutch oven, making sure the pan is small, so the pork fits snugly (this will help prevent meat from drying out).


Add the cola and water to the pot and bring to a boil. Then, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer. Add the bay leave, thyme and tarragon, cover and simmer until the pork is tender, about 1½ hours (the cola will caramelize and the liquid will evaporate when finished).


Transfer the cooked pork to a cutting board. Discard the bay leaves, thyme and tarragon. Then, using two forks, shred the meat into 2-inch long pieces.


Serve with the warmed corn tortillas, chopped onion, chopped cilantro, sliced radishes, lime wedges and salsa.