ST. PAUL - Pajarito is going whole hog – and lamb – for its first Cinco de Mayo celebration since opening its doors this last December. The Mexican eatery is partnering up with fellow West Seventh Street neighbor, Bad Weather Brewery, to host a tent party in the restaurant’s parking lot at 605 7th St. W., St. Paul, Minn., on May 5 from 3 to 9 p.m. The event is free, and families are welcome.
There will be live music, kid-friendly entertainment, assorted tacos, plus Pajarito Chefs Stephan Hesse and Tyge Nelson will be roasting a whole hog and a lamb.

People familiar with the chefs’ reputations should be especially excited about the latter. Whole suckling pig was a specialty of Nelson while at Chino Latino, and Hesse built quite a reputation while at Libertine for hosting a variety of whole animal dining extravaganzas. The chefs are known for having quite the knack for pulling the best flavor from any beast, as proven by Pajarito’s popular wood-fired entrees.

Beyond the food, Bad Weather Brewing will be offering up a selection of brews, including a specially infused option that will be unveiled at the event, along with some of its custom sodas.

For updates and additional details, visit the Pajarito Facebook events page.

3 pounds lard
5# pounds pork shoulder cut into 2” cubes
1 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
1 cups Coca-Cola      
1/4c ounces sweetened condensed milk
8 garlic cloves, smashed
1 Mexican cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon black peppercorn
5 fresh bay leaves
3 tablespoon Kosher salt
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Season pork shoulder with salt and set aside.  Heat lard on stove until melted. In a deep hotel pan combine pork, orange juice, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, bay leaves, peppercorns, garlic and Coca-Cola. Carefully pour warm lard into hotel pan. Cover with parchment and place in preheated oven for 2 to 3 hours, until the meat is very tender and it shreds easily.

Avocado-Tomatillo Salsa
18oz Fresh Tomatillos
1 Serrano Chile
3 Avocado, halved and seeded, skins removed
1/4C Cilantro, Packed and chopped
2 Limes, juiced
1 Clove Garlic, Peeled
Salt to taste
Place the garlic and Serranos in the bowl of a vitamix. Add a little water and puree until smooth. Pour into a bowl.  Add the Tomatillos and puree until smooth. Add to the serrano puree. Add the avocados to the blender with the lime juice. Puree until smooth. You may need to add some water to allow the avocados to work through the blades. Finally add the cilantro with a small amount of water. Puree, but not to a smooth puree, there should still be flecks of cilantro in the mix. Add to the rest and adjust the seasoning.

1 3/4C Masa Harina
1 1/8C Hot Water
1T Kosher Salt
combine all ingredients and knead to a smooth dough. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to hydrate for 20 minutes. Preheat a cast iron skillet or griddle to medium-high. Divide dough into 15 equal-size balls. Using a tortilla press, a rolling pin, or your hands, press each ball of dough flat between two sheets of plastic wrap. Immediately place tortilla in preheated pan and allow to cook for approximately 30 seconds, or until browned and slightly puffy. Turn tortilla over to brown on second side for approximately 30 seconds more, then transfer to a plate. Repeat process with each ball of dough. Keep tortillas covered with a towel to stay warm and moist until ready to serve.
To assemble tacos:
4 Tortillas, cooked and kept warm
8oz Pork Carnitas
1/2C Diced Onions
1/4C Chopped Cilantro
1 Lime, cut into 12 Wedges
place a saute pan on medium heat on the stove. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the carnitas in batches, season with salt and allow to caramelize and to get some what crispy. Remove from the pan and place on top of the tortillas. Drizzle with some of the salsa and top with the onions and cilantro. Garnish with lime wedges.