Food & Wine Thursdays: Carnitas

I think I’ve done it! I think I’ve perfected a carnitas recipe. Here it is, for your enjoyment.

What you’ll need:

  • Pork butt (actually the shoulder), 4-5 pounds
  • Diced onion (one large or two small)
  • 2-3 diced jalapenos
  • 3-4 cloves minced garlic
  • Water
  • Orange juice
  • Bay leaf
  • Cinnamon stick
  • 1T dried smoked chili powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil

What to do:

  1. Cut the pork butt into 3-4 inch chunks. Trim excess fat if you want to.
  2. Rub the pork thoroughly with salt and black pepper. Do this an hour or more in advance if you can, but it’s not imperative.
  3. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or roasting pan over medium heat. Brown the pork chunks on each side. You can do this in multiple batches if necessary.
  4. Remove the pork and let drain on paper towels.
  5. Saute the onion, garlic, chili powder, and jalapeno in the pork fat.
  6. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  7. When onions are translucent and the jalapeno is soft, add a cup of water and scrape the bottom of the pan with a soft spatula to deglaze.
  8. Return the pork to the roasting pan/Dutch oven.
  9. Add orange juice until the pork is mostly covered.
  10. Add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, another 3-4 grinds of black pepper and another tablespoon of salt.
  11. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 10 minutes.
  12. Place the pan/Dutch oven in the oven and braise, uncovered, for about 3 hours, until the meat is fork tender and falls apart and the liquid has reduced. Carefully rotate the meat in the pan every 30-45 minutes.
  13. When the meat is ready, remove the pan from the oven and remove the meat from the pan with tongs and place in a bowl.
  14. After the meat has cooled sufficiently, pull the pork apart. I like to use a pair of forks, but fingers are good too.
  15. Spread as much meat as you want to serve into an oiled sheet pan. Spoon roasting liquid over the meat. Refrigerate any leftover meat and roasting liquid.
  16. Broil the meat in the oven on high for 5 minutes until brown and crispy.
  17. Serve with beans and rice, tortillas, avocado or, really, whatever you want.

That’s it! It takes a while to cook but it’s mostly hands-off and very delicious. What I love about this recipe is you can store the leftovers in the fridge and just broil small batches whenever you want to. One 4 pound pork butt can last two people several days.

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About David D.

I'm a wine professional. Like a real one who makes most of his living in wine and have for most of my adult life. I also write, but you can see that.
This entry was posted in Beer & Meat, Food and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Food & Wine Thursdays: Carnitas

  1. davidm says:

    you forgot the splash of tequila! sounds awesome

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