If you frequent taco restaurants, you will almost always find carne asada (steak), pollo asado (chicken) and pescado (fish). What you may not always find is carnitas because they take much longer to prepare. Marinated pork is slowly cooked so that the flavors meld into the meat. One such establishment is Carnitas El Momo.
Each weekend, Carnitas El Momo serves their specialty tacos from a small trailer in South Los Angeles. While their social media profile states that they are at 61st and Avalon, they were actually set up on 60th Street next to Studio 60, an LA production studio.
Some restaurants will use a Dutch oven to slow cook the pork. The owner of Carnitas El Momo, Romulo “Momo” Acosta, makes his carnitas the same way his father made them in Guanajuato, Mexico. He uses large copper pots and braises the pork for hours in its own fat.
This was my third time seeking them out and after circling a few surrounding blocks, I was happy to find them. From Avalon, 60th Street looks like an alley and I spotted their trailer and van. They set up their Honda generator, gave it a couple of tugs and established portable electricity for their operations.
Three people staffed the trailer that day. One took orders, another person chopped the pork and sized the portions so that they were taco ready, and finally there was the chef. The chef rewarded me for my patience by giving me a complimentary migajas taco. Their migajas was made from small pork pieces from the bottom of the pan.
Street tacos are generally small and so I ordered 3 aporkalypse and 3 maciza. I was surprised to see how much meat they use on each taco. Unless you request otherwise, it is topped with chopped onions, fresh cilantro and served with their house made red and green salsas.
The aporkalypse is what takes place when maciza (shoulder), buche (belly) and cueritos (rind) are brought together in a taco. Crispy-edged pieces of pork that are sweet, sticky and smokey were combined with cilantro on a warm corn tortilla and they were heavenly! The maciza was very lean and not as tender as the aporkalypse. The price for all 6 tacos – only $15!
Carnitas El Momo (trailer), E. 60 St./S. Avalon Bl., South Park, 323.488.0642, Saturdays and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.