Carnitas

I love my Costco dutch oven.  I bought one from Costco about 6 months ago, but never really had a chance to use it until NOW!  I saw this recipe prepared on an episode of America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) and found it in my ATK cookbook.

I think carnitas are hit or miss and depending on the taqueria or restaurant you go to.  My idea of good carnitas is crispy and juicy.  I hate it when taquerias serve it NOT crispy.  This carnitas recipe is super delicious. It is the most flavorful, juicy, crispy, and less fatty carnitas I’ve tasted.  The orange pulp and juice in this recipe enhances the flavor and gives it a very distinct taste.

The total cook time for this recipe is about 3 hours, but it definitely worth it.  4 pounds of meat might seem like a lot of meat, but once your guests get a taste of this carnitas, they will either devour it all or togo any leftovers with a quickness.  My preference for carnitas is served with Mexican rice and beans with guacomole and pico de gallo.

Ingredients:
1 4-pound Pork Butt or Shoulder cut into 2-inch cubes
2 cups of water
1/2 cup of orange juice
1 small onion peeled and halved
1 navel orange juice + halved
1 lime juiced
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano crushed
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Steps:

  1. Heat oven on BAKE to 300 degrees.
  2. Trim excess fat off pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes, and add to a  6 quart dutch oven.
  3. Add water, orange juice, onion, juice of an orange + orange halves, onion, lime juice, bay leaves, salt, peppercorns, cumin, crushed Mexican oregano and black pepper into dutch oven and combine with the pork.
  4. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally.  Once water begins boiling, cover, transfer the pot into the 300 degree oven and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
  5. Remove dutch oven from the oven and turn the oven to broil.  
  6. Use a slotted spoon and transfer meat to another bowl. Throw away onion, peppercorns, and orange halves.
  7. Bring liquid to a simmer over medium-high heat and reduce the liquid to a syrupy consistency.
  8. Pull each piece of pork in half with a fork.  Mix in braising liquid with the pork and season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Spread pork over a baking sheet.  Broil for about 10 minutes or until crispy.
  10. Serve hot with tortillas or Mexican rice topped with pico de gallo and guacomole.

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