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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pork Carnitas

Pork carnitas tacos are just one of my favorite things. The carnitas are very easy to make, though they do take a while to cook.

In theory, the pork shoulder should have enough fat to fry the pork shreds but in reality, American pork is still too lean to render enough fat (this is even true for the fatty pork shoulder). That's why I add some oil - or even better, some lard - to fry the carnitas.

Serve your carnitas with hot corn tortillas, some diced pineapple, sliced red onions, diced avocado, and a green salsa.

Pork Carnitas
(makes 3-4 cups, 6 servings)

1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds boneless pork shoulder (also called pork butt), cut into large chunks
1 onion, studded with 6 cloves
3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed
1 small dried whole red chile, such as a chile d'arbol or chipotle
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 cups water
2 tablespoons oil or lard

Place the meat, onion, garlic, chile, salt, and water in a large heavy skillet or dutch oven. Bring the water to a simmer. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is tender. Remove the cover and continue cooking over medium heat until the pork is very tender and almost all the liquid has cooked away.

Remove the pork and shred it with two forks. Discard the onion, garlic, and chile in the pot. Heat the oil and remaining liquid over medium-high heat. Return the pork shreds to the pot and fry until browned and crispy.

PDF of Pork Carnitas recipe