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Mexican Pork Carnitas

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Who is sick of WINTER? Meee! I cannot wait for it to get into the 40’s and that use to be really cold to me! I am heading to FL in a couple of weeks.  I. Cannot. Wait.  I hope it is at least in the 60’s.  I don’t think I am asking for much, am I?

I made this dish a couple of weeks ago and we all loved it. I was happy to see that pork butt was on sale at the grocery store today. It gave me a reason to make it again and I could take photos and share it with you.

This recipe is really good. It is perfect for tacos and nachos or a great filling for enchiladas, tamales and burritos. I have only used it for tacos and nachos. Oh, and I just ate it right out of the frig the next morning. I love cold meat and pizza…. for breakfast. Weird, I know!

Pork Carnitas

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

  • 3 1/2 – 4 pound boneless pork butt, fat trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 small onions, peeled and halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1  Tablespoon dried oregano ( I used a tad more)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice ( One lime)
  • 2 C water
  • 1 medium orange

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Combine pork,  salt, pepper, cumin, onion, bay leaves, garlic, oregano, lime juice, and water in large Dutch oven (liquid should just barely cover meat). Cut orange in half; juice orange into medium bowl and remove any seeds. I would say 1/4 – 1/3 cup of juice would be a good amount (I had about 1/4 cup). Add juice and spent orange halves to pot. Bring mixture to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover pot and transfer to oven; cook until meat is soft and falls apart when poked with fork, about 2 hours.

2. Remove pot from oven and turn oven to broil. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to bowl; remove orange halves, onion, and bay leaves from cooking liquid and discard (do not skim fat from liquid). Place pot over high heat (use caution, as handles will be very hot) and simmer liquid, stirring frequently, until thick, 8 to 12 minutes. You should have about 1 cup reduced liquid.

3. Using 2 forks, pull each piece of pork in half. Gently fold pork into reduced liquid; season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread pork in a even layer on a foiled lined jelly roll pan. Place pan on lower-middle rack and broil until top of meat is well browned (but not charred) and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Using wide metal spatula, flip pieces of meat and continue to broil until top is well browned and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Serve immediately with warm tortillas and your favorite toppings.

All ready to bring to a simmer on the stove top and then pop it into the oven.

All ready to bring to a simmer on the stove top and then pop it into the oven.

The kitchen smelled wonderful as it cooked. It took 2 hours until it was done.

The kitchen smelled wonderful as it cooked. It took 2 hours until it was done.

After breaking the meat apart, reducing the liquid and then tossing the meat with the liquid, it is ready for the broiler.

After breaking the meat apart, reducing the liquid and then tossing the meat with the liquid, it is ready for the broiler.

Meanwhile, I mixed up a Pico de gallo. I really do not have a set recipe for this. Diced tomato, onion, jalapeno and cilantro, lime juice, salt. This time I added diced avocado.

Meanwhile, I mixed up a Pico de gallo. I really do not have a set recipe for this. Diced tomato, onion, jalapeno and cilantro, lime juice, salt. This time I added diced avocado.

Pork Carnitas

Pork Carnitas

Tonight I served it on a tortilla with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream and shredded cheese. Not sure what I will do with the leftovers tomorrow, but I know it will be good!

Tonight I served it on a tortilla with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, sour cream and shredded cheese. Not sure what I will do with the leftovers tomorrow, but I know it will be good!

When I first made this, I was unsure about adding the orange.  I don’t even taste the orange, but I know it adds the the flavor. Reducing the liquid and tossing it into the meat and then broiling it, is a must!

~Relish Food & Life

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