Food often tastes better on camping trips; it takes so much effort to make that I'm usually starving by the time I eat. Because I first tried Trader Joe's carnitas while roughing it, I had to revisit this tasty pork at home. Dare I say, it was better than I remembered. The fully cooked Mexican-style pork is easy to prepare — warmed in a saucepan with TJ's red mole sauce — but I wanted to expand its horizons.
Naturally, I thought, "sandwich!" and imagined piling the pork onto soft bread with avocado, salsa, and cheese. Then I realized that the smoky, sweet flavor of the carnitas and mole reminds me of Sloppy Joes. Thus, the Sloppy Jose was born. To see how it came together,
Though I used Trader Joe's packaged, cooked carnitas, you could also make the pork from scratch or use homemade mole in place of the jarred product. But if you live near a TJ's, I highly recommend their versions for a quick and easy dinner. I also added brown sugar to my mole to give it a more Midwestern comfort-food flavor.
6 oz. prepared red mole sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, or more to taste
1 tablespoon water or broth
12 oz. fully cooked pork carnitas, cut into bite-size pieces
4 whole wheat hamburger buns
1 cup shredded lettuce*
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
Half of an avocado, cut into thin slices
1/4 cup salsa
- In a saucepan over low heat, combine the mole sauce, brown sugar, hot sauce, and water or broth; heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- To the saucepan, add carnitas and stir to coat. Cook slowly over low heat for 10 minutes or until fully heated through, stirring occasionally and breaking up the pork.
- To make each sandwich, place 1/4 cup shredded lettuce on the bottom bun, then top with carnitas. Sprinkle a layer of shredded cheese over the pork, then lay a few slices of avocado over the cheese. Top with a spoonful of salsa, and place the top of the bun over the stack of ingredients to serve.
Makes 4 sandwiches.
*I used red leaf lettuce. However any other cool, crunchy lettuce (iceberg, romaine, etc) would be delicious.
- Sandwiches, Main Dishes