Sunday, May 4, 2014

Carnitas (for tacos!)

Carnitas! // Loves Food, Loves to Eat
I'm bad at a some things (including math, laundry, and singing), ok at a couple things, pretty good at a few, and absolutely, totally great at one thing. That one thing, my friends, is roasting pork. 

Carnitas! // Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Carnitas! // Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Carnitas! // Loves Food, Loves to Eat I'm not trying to brag or anything, but seriously, I'm really, really good at pork shoulder. It's a gift. It's my calling. I usually just throw stuff in without actually measuring, but for your sake, I finally measured and wrote stuff down. Please make these carnitas you guys, seriously. You need to make this pork. 

Carnitas! // Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Carnitas! // Loves Food, Loves to Eat Also, tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo. You know, that one holiday in the US where we eat a ton of Mexican food and drink margaritas. Otherwise known as my favorite food holiday. I love everything about Mexican food. I could eat tacos all day long. Especially carnitas tacos. I judge taco places by their carnitas, and I would absolutely go back to a place that served my carnitas. 

Carnitas! // Loves Food, Loves to Eat This pork is tender and crispy at the same time. It's tangy and salty and a little bit spicy, with hints of cinnamon and citrus. Dreams are made of this stuff. 

Carnitas! // Loves Food, Loves to Eat When I'm doing BBQ style pulled pork, I use the slow cooker, but for carnitas, I like to use the oven. The pork gets tender and juicy, but the edges get crispy, which I think is what really make this pork awesome. 

Carnitas! // Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Carnitas! // Loves Food, Loves to Eat Oh, PS… T-minus five months until my wedding! WHAT. I have a lot of spray painting to do. Any volunteers? 

Carnitas! // Loves Food, Loves to Eat Pork Carnitas (for tacos!)
Loosely inspired by this recipe

Be prepared for a couple hours of marinating, but if you're in a rush, you can just marinate for an hour and it will still turn out delicious! 

4-5 lbs pork shoulder
Juice from 2 large oranges (about 1 cup)
Juice from 1 lime
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large serrano pepper, diced
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate*
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
Fresh ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 

2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 bottle of light beer (Mexican beer like Pacifico)

Trim major fat off of pork shoulder (ok to leave a little bit, but get as much as you can), and cut pork into 4-5 big chunks. Put in a large bowl.

Whisk together orange juice through cinnamon, and pour over the pork. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for 2 hours to overnight. 

Preheat oven to 375.

On the stovetop, heat a large oven-proof stockpot over medium-high. Remove pork pieces and pat dry (reserve marinade). Sear each pork piece, just 1-2 pieces at a time, (too many in the pot will make it steam) on each side. Add all the seared pork pieces, reserved marinade, beer, and brown sugar to pot. 

Bake covered for 2.5-3 hours. 

Right in the pot, shred with a fork and stir into the sauce (remove any fat pieces that might be in there). The pork should be fall-apart tender.

To make it a bit crispier, I like to put it back in the oven for 10 minutes after shredding.

For tacos, serve in warm corn tortillas, with diced white onion, cilantro, and cotija cheese. 

*I use Tamicon brand, often found near the Mexican or Asian aisle in the grocery store. 

Carnitas! // Loves Food, Loves to Eat
Carnitas! // Loves Food, Loves to Eat
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