Wild Boar Carnitas Tacos with Oaxaca Cheese and Tomatillo Salsa

Wild Boar Carnitas Tacos with Oaxaca Cheese and Tomatillo Salsa
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About This Recipe

It all began when I came across a local butcher who sold wild boar, a meat that is gaining popularity for its rich, gamey flavor. I knew I had to create a dish that would celebrate the bold flavors and ingredients found both in Napa Valley and nearby cultural centers like Mexico. And thus, my Wild Boar Carnitas Tacos with Oaxaca Cheese and Tomatillo Salsa were born.

To source wild boar, I recommend visiting your local butcher or specialty market. You can also try local farmers' markets, where you may find vendors selling wild game. The Oaxaca cheese, a deliciously melty Mexican cheese, can be found at most grocery stores, but for a more authentic touch, head to a Mexican market. Tomatillos, the star of the zesty salsa, can be found in the produce section of most supermarkets, but they're also a common sight at farmers' markets during the summer months.

For a truly memorable meal, I love to serve my wild boar carnitas tacos alongside a refreshing jicama, cucumber, and watermelon salad. The cool, crisp flavors of the salad perfectly complement the rich, bold flavors of the tacos. To finish off the meal, a light and creamy Mexican chocolate mousse hits the spot.

When it comes to wine pairings, Napa Valley has no shortage of incredible options. For these wild boar carnitas tacos, I recommend a bright and zesty Sauvignon Blanc to cut through the rich flavors of the wild boar. Two options from Napa Valley that come to mind are the crisp and citrusy Frog's Leap Sauvignon Blanc or the more tropical Honig Vineyard & Winery Sauvignon Blanc. Alternatively, a fruity and medium-bodied Zinfandel, such as the Biale Vineyards' Black Chicken Zinfandel, would also make a fantastic pairing, with its spicy notes and dark fruit flavors.

As a Napa Valley local, I am always eager to share the hidden gems and authentic experiences that our beautiful region has to offer. One of my favorite wineries to visit is the family-owned Tres Sabores, nestled in the heart of St. Helena. Another is the charming and eco-friendly Frog's Leap in Rutherford, where you can enjoy a wine tasting in their lush gardens. Lastly, don't miss the breathtaking views and world-class wines at the stunning Jarvis Estate in Coombsville.

As you explore Napa Valley and try out new recipes, let the region's natural beauty, rich culinary history, and diverse influences inspire you. Whether you're a home chef, a cooking enthusiast, or a wine lover, there's something for everyone in this beautiful corner of California.

So, gather your friends and family, whip up a batch of Wild Boar Carnitas Tacos with Oaxaca Cheese and Tomatillo Salsa, and raise a glass to the flavors and experiences that make Napa Valley truly special. Happy cooking, and cheers to your Napa Valley-inspired culinary adventures!

Hero Ingredient Spotlight: Wild Boar

Wild boar is not just any meat; it's an exotic choice known for its rich, gamey flavor. Originating from wild swine, wild boar is a leaner alternative to domestic pork, offering a distinct taste profile reminiscent of a fusion between pork and beef. Its richness provides a depth of flavor that can elevate dishes, making it perfect for recipes like our Wild Boar Carnitas Tacos. Locally-sourced wild boar, particularly in regions where it's indigenous, not only supports local hunters and butchers but is also an environmentally friendly choice. It's a testament to a chef's commitment to experimenting with bold flavors and introducing diners to unconventional ingredients.

How to Perfectly Shred Wild Boar

  1. Let it Rest: After slow-cooking the wild boar, let it rest for about 10-15 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute.
  2. Choose the Right Tools: Two forks are the traditional choice. Place the meat on a sturdy surface, hold the boar with one fork and use the other to pull and shred.
  3. Shred Along the Grain: Find the direction of the meat's grain (the way the muscle fibers align) and shred along with it for the best texture.

FAQs for Wild Boar Carnitas Tacos

  1. Can I substitute the wild boar with another meat?
  2. Absolutely. While wild boar offers a unique flavor, you can use pork shoulder as a more accessible substitute.
  3. How should I store leftovers?
  4. Store any leftover wild boar meat in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently to avoid drying out the meat.
  5. Is there a vegetarian alternative to wild boar in this recipe?
  6. For a vegetarian twist, consider using jackfruit or mushrooms. Both options can be shredded and offer a meaty texture.
  7. What can I use if I can't find Oaxaca cheese?
  8. Mozzarella is a good substitute for Oaxaca cheese due to its similar melting quality.
  9. I'm gluten-sensitive. Can I replace the corn tortillas?
  10. Yes, ensure that the corn tortillas you purchase are labeled gluten-free, or you can use gluten-free flour tortillas available in many supermarkets.

Tips for Success

  1. Slow and Steady Wins the Race: Don't rush the slow-cooking process for the wild boar. The longer it simmers, the more tender it will be, allowing for easier shredding and a melt-in-your-mouth experience.
  2. Amp Up Your Tomatillo Salsa: If you’re making homemade tomatillo salsa, consider roasting the tomatillos first. It adds depth and a smoky flavor to the salsa, complementing the gamey notes of the wild boar.
  3. Warm Those Tortillas: Never underestimate the power of a warm tortilla. Heating them up makes them more pliable and enhances their flavor. Use a dry skillet or place them directly over a gas stove flame for a slight char.

Now, with this detailed guide, you're well-equipped to create an unforgettable culinary experience with the Wild Boar Carnitas Tacos. Embrace the flavors, and let every bite transport you to the heart of Napa Valley. Happy cooking!

Recipe Overview

Wild Boar Carnitas Tacos with Oaxaca Cheese and Tomatillo Salsa
Lily Anderson
6 servings
Calories Per Serving:
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:

Ingredients List


  • 3 lbs wild boar shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded Oaxaca cheese
  • 2 cups tomatillo salsa (store-bought or homemade)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Step-by-Step Directions

  1. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the wild boar cubes and cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño to the pot and cook for another 5 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.
  3. Stir in the cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add the orange juice and chicken stock, and bring the mixture to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for 2-3 hours, or until the wild boar is tender and easily shredded with a fork.
  5. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the wild boar from the pot, shred it using two forks, and spread it evenly on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake the shredded wild boar for 10-15 minutes, until it is crispy and caramelized on the edges.
  7. To assemble the tacos, warm the tortillas in a dry skillet or directly over the flame of a gas stove. Place a generous amount of wild boar carnitas on each tortilla, followed by a sprinkle of Oaxaca cheese, a spoonful of tomatillo salsa, and a few cilantro leaves. Serve with lime wedges on the side.

Share Your Results

Was it everything you dreamed it could be? Let me know how it turned out for you and share a picture on social media with the hashtag #LilyCooksNapa

Hello and welcome to Napa Home Chef! We're thrilled you're joining us to explore the vibrant world of wine country cooking. Our team has crafted bold, creative recipes inspired by Napa Valley's lush landscapes, bountiful harvests, and world-renowned wines. We hope you enjoy the journey with us!

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