Carnitas

Gabe OrtizBay area ops guy, bon vivant.
March 07, 2014
  • four pounds of pork shoulder
  • four cloves garlic
  • two bay leaves
  • approximately one teaspoon salt
  • pinch of oregano
  • lard, optional

Preheat your oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Cube the pork into about two inch pieces. Salt liberally, add the pork and all other ingredients to a dutch oven. A crock pot on low heat also works, but generally you want a cooking vessel that's as close to full as possible, and most crock pots require maybe double the amount of pork I tend to use.

Make sure it all fits as tightly as possible, you need the fat to render out during the cooking process, essentially this is a uncured confit. You may need to add some additional lard to make sure this happens. Cook for about eight hours, or until the pork falls apart when tested with a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Discard the garlic and bay leaves. Shred the pork by hand and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Now's a great time to separate the leftover rendered fat from pork stock, this is accomplished most easily by pouring into a glass and chilling until the fat solidifies. Freeze the rendered pork fat for use the next time you make carnitas, I'll make it even more flavorful, and the pork stock is great in soups or gravies, or reduced by half over low heat as a sauce for the carnitas.

When ready to serve, fry the pork in a cast iron pan until it crisps up and turns a golden brown. Serve with hot corn tortillas, salsa, avocado, etc.

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