Citrus-Braised Pork Tacos: Inspired by Yucatan-style cochinita pibil, this soft, flavorful, sweet-savory pork taco filling can be (actually should be) made a day ahead. Quick pickled red onions and a screaming-hot habanero sauce make these tacos vibrant and exciting.
Homemade Flour Tortillas: Our recipe calls for traditional corn tortillas (the test kitchen’s favorite brand of corn tortillas is Maria and Ricardo’s Handmade Style Soft Corn Tortillas, Yellow), but I’d also offer flour tortillas here, because people have preferences. Flour tortillas are much easier to make than you’d think (do it early in the day, before the party) and exponentially better than store-bought.
Pineapple Salsa: This superflavorful, supereasy condiment comes together in a flash and is equally at home spooned onto a taco as it is scooped onto a tortilla chip (our favorite chips are On The Border Café Style Tortilla Chips).
Husk-Grilled Corn with Cilantro-Lime Butter: Grilling the corn is the only cooking I’ll do during the party, and when I say cooking, I really just mean standing next to the grill wielding tongs and looking important because this recipe takes very little effort. Also, the flavorful compound butter can be made well ahead of time.
Dessert: Chocolate Haupia Pie. This coconut-chocolate showstopper of a summertime pie is ubiquitous in Hawaii but not as well-known on the mainland. It’s more forgiving than its two-tiered profile would suggest, and because it needs at least 3 hours to chill in the fridge before serving, you have no choice but to finish it well before the guests arrive and the drinks start flowing.
Cocktail/Beverage: Mai tais to welcome guests and then beer. Insanely cold beer. And lots of it. (The test kitchen’s favorite Mexican lager is Tecate.)