If you love tender, slow-cooked carnitas as much as we do, then there’s a good chance you’ll agree that no one does it better than Carnitas El Momo. This Boyle Heights truck has now expanded with a brick-and-mortar location in Monterey Park, but both spots greet you with the same smells of bubbling cauldrons of carnitas. However, instead of toil and trouble, El Momo serves slowly braised pork cooked in lard and a secret spice blend of contrasting flavors, including the deep sweetness of brown sugar that caramelizes the large chunks of meat to create all kinds of textures. Pork belly, pork shoulder, and pork skin are all on the menu, but the move is to order all three. The gelatinous, chewy skin plays perfectly with the shoulder and fatty belly that come dripping with juice.
This is a must-try at Carnitas El Momo, but we warn you that it’s a lot. A sturdy bread roll gets piled with a delicious mix of chopped pork shoulder, skin, and belly, all of which gets doused in their salsa roja and plenty of fresh onions and cilantro. This thing is big, so try to pace yourself if you can. Or bring an entire flock of friends to share it with.
The second best thing about El Momo, besides their bubbling cauldrons of magical carnitas, is the fact that you never have to choose between their meat options because you can get all three at once. Their taco mixta is one of the best ways to do so, with the pork belly, crackly skin, and pork shoulder each bringing a special something to the tortilla. Make sure to spoon on some salsa roja for a smoky kick that’ll round out the pork overload.