The Cinco de Mayo Collection
How you doin’? Carnitas is one of my favorite Mexican foods. It is very versatile and can be used plated on its own or in tacos, enchiladas and/or tostadas.
The literal meaning of Carnitas is "little meats." It is a dish of Mexican cuisine that originated in the state of Michoacán. Carnitas is made by braising or simmering the meat in pork lard until tender. The process takes three to four hours, and the result is very tender and juicy meat, which is then typically served with chopped coriander (cilantro leaves), pickled red onion, salsa, guacamole, tortillas and refried beans.
You wouldn’t think that any meat “boiled” in lard would come out tasting great and not be greasy at all. It’s kind of an unusual dish to cook as well. When you first start cooking in pork lard the smell around the kitchen is a bit off putting, but it transforms into something sublime the longer it cooks.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 3 to 4 hours
Cool time: 1 hour
Yield: 4 Pounds
5 pounds Lard
6 ounces cola soda
2 small oranges, cut in quarters and seeded
6 whole cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro,
2 whole fresh jalapeño chiles, halved lengthwise
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
1 medium white onion, quartered
2 teaspoons kosher salt
5 to 6 pounds pork butt, cut in 3- to 4-inch cubes
ChefSecret: There are some recipes that utilize an Instant Pot to make carnitas. These recipes don’t fry the meat in lard—they braise them in liquid. While the Instant Pot makes a great pulled pork, I wouldn’t call it carnitas. By the way, you should never use your Instant Pot or any pressure cooker for frying in oil under pressure. It’s very dangerous.
Covid-19 Quip of the Day: “A great practical joke now is to go up to someone’s door, ring the doorbell, then instead of running away, just stand there.”
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