Pork Carnitas and Oaxaca Cheese Shooter's-Style Sandwich With Spicy Refried Beans and Pickled Red Onions Recipe

Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Mexican tortas are delicious, but messy. This sandwich, inspired by the same flavors, solves that problem by packing them all into a bread boat and pressing them under heavy weights until they form a single, intensely flavorful package with juicy pork, pickled onions, jalapeños, beans, and gooey melted Oaxaca cheese.

Why this recipe works:

  • Flavorful-but-messy ingredients are packed together into a well-balanced, neat, sliceable package.

Note: The carnitas recipe also produces enough salsa for this sandwich. If using store-bought carnitas or pulled pork, you can make Basic Salsa Verde separately, or use your favorite store-bought salsa. This sandwich can also be served at room temperature, but heat it for best flavor and texture.

Recipe Details

Pork Carnitas and Oaxaca Cheese Shooter's-Style Sandwich With Spicy Refried Beans and Pickled Red Onions Recipe

Active 20 mins
Total 4 hrs 20 mins
Serves 4 to 6 servings


  • 1 loaf rustic country bread or ciabatta

  • 1 1/2 cups Spicy refried beans or store-bought refried beans

  • 1 recipe Carnitas, with 1/3 cup of the salsa produced in that recipe (see note)

  • 12 ounces Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese, shredded by hand

  • 1 1/2 cups pickled red onions, drained in a salad spinner

  • 2 to 3 jalapeño peppers, finely sliced


  1. Slice off the top 1 to 1 1/2-inches of the loaf of bread using a bread knife. Cut around the perimeter of the interior crumb, making sure not to break through the bottom crust, then use your hand to lift out the excess bread from the inside, leaving you with a hollow bread boat.

  2. Spread beans on bottom of bread boat, followed by carnitas, salsa, cheese, pickled onions, and sliced jalapeños. Close sandwich.

  3. Wrap sandwich tightly in aluminum foil or butcher's paper, then place in between two stiff cutting boards. Place a heavy weight on top (about 40 pounds), press down firmly to flatten sandwich, then let rest under the weight for at least 4 hours and up to overnight (keep an eye on the sandwich to ensure that it is pressing evenly).

  4. When ready to eat, adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 375°F. Remove weights, slice sandwich into four to six pieces through paper or foil with a bread knife, unwrap, and transfer to a rimmed baking sheet, pressing the pieces back together to form a full sandwich shape. Place in oven until hot and cheese has melted, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
447 Calories
21g Fat
40g Carbs
25g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 447
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 26%
Saturated Fat 9g 46%
Cholesterol 60mg 20%
Sodium 1729mg 75%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 15%
Dietary Fiber 7g 24%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 25g
Vitamin C 27mg 134%
Calcium 386mg 30%
Iron 4mg 22%
Potassium 772mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)