White Duck Taco Shop in Asheville, North Carolina, is serving killer tacos to their cult following… including these BBQ Carnitas Tacos!
Have you ever seen the movie Swingers with (a very young) Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau? There’s a part in the movie where characters Rob and Mike are looking for a hidden night club in LA. Finding the club offers a certain amount of status because only the “cool kids” know where it is. That’s how I felt the first time I drove up to White Duck Taco Shop. I had heard of the elusive little taco joint from a friend who always knows what’s new in Asheville’s ever-growing food scene. The lure of finding it on a side-street in Asheville’s River Arts District was the initial draw, but the tacos I experienced were “money.” *wink*
Ben and Laura Mixson came to Asheville with one goal in mind, a taco shop. After years of living as fine-dining restauranteurs/ski bums in Park City, Utah, they moved east to be closer to family. The Mixson’s wanted to open a casual restaurant offering local and seasonal foods–reminiscent of taco shops they frequented back west.
Along with serious culinary clout, Ben and Laura have a skillet full of fun stories to share of their experience opening the taco shop. For instance, our local paper announced what was to be their “soft opening” three months ago. The response was overwhelming with new customers lined up out the door. The Mixsons had to close the doors for a day to revamp their game-plan. Not a bad problem to have for a brand-new restaurant.
The name White Duck Taco Shop comes from Laura’s past restaurant days. She chuckled as she admitted, her staff in Utah named her “La Pato Blanca,” the white duck, because her hair was very white (blonde) and they claimed she called out orders like she was quacking at them.
The art featured in the restaurant also comes with a bit of amusing history. Back in college, Ben bought a good friend his first surf board. Over the years this friend has become the renowned graffiti artist that goes by the name Ishmael. To repay Ben for his kindness, Ishmael painted the official white duck displayed on the wall. It just goes to show, you never know what a little generosity will get you. In this case, famous graffiti.
White Duck Taco Shop offers a global array of tacos inspired by dishes Laura and Ben love. They are masters at the art of balancing comfort food and culinary adventure. The “chalkboard menu” changes not only with the seasons, but as they experiment with new flavor concepts.The Mixson’s have made their mark on Ashveille’s unique food culture bringing us tacos with personality.
White Duck’s BBQ Carnitas Taco is a nod to the south, with pulled pork, baked beans, coleslaw and bbq sauce. It takes a chef many early morning hours to prepare all the elements that go into your “quick” lunch. Here, the official White Duck BBQ Carnitas Tacos recipe has been slightly altered to make it home-cook friendly… just for you!
This recipe is a great way to use up leftover pulled pork from your weekend barbeque. It also gives your favorite BBQ joint take-out an exciting makeover.
BBQ Carnitas Tacos from White Duck Taco Shop
Yield: 16 tacos
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
For the Coleslaw:
½ cup mayonnaise
¾ tsp. dried oregano
¾ tsp. garlic powder
¾ tsp. onion powder
¾ tsp. black pepper
¼ cup white vinegar
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp. salt
16 oz. bag coleslaw cabbage mix
For the Baked Beans:
32 oz. (2 cans) baked beans
3 strips bacon, chopped
2 tsp. dark molasses
1 ½ tsp. cumin
For the Pork Carnitas:
2 lbs. pulled pork
1 Tb. oil
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. chili powder
1 bottle bbq sauce
32 corn tortillas
In a large bowl, whisk the mayo , spices, sugar and vinegar together until smooth. Add the cabbage mix and stir to coat. Place in the fridge until ready to serve.
Set a sauce pot over medium-high heat. Saute the chopped bacon until crisp. Then pour the bean (with sauce) and the molasses into the pot. Season with cumin, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, cinnamon and chili powder. Saute the spices for 1-2 minutes, then add the pulled pork to the skillet. Brown the pork to create some crispy edges, stir occasionally—5-10 minutes.
To assemble: Layer two corn tortillas on a plate. Add a scoop of bean in the middle of the tortilla, followed by the pork “carnitas” and the coleslaw. Drizzle with bbq sauce.
Making this recipe? Why not take a quick shot and share it on Instagram! Make sure to tag it #ASpicyPerspective so we can see what you're cooking!
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