Friday, September 21, 2012

Mexican Pulled Pork (Carnitas)

Happy Friday everyone! TGIF! Here's the last recipe for the week, so enjoy!

This recipe is really easy too, okay it has a lot of steps, but it really isn't that hard, and it's SOOO good! Definitely a crowd pleaser. Without further ado:


  • 1 3.5-4 pound boneless pork butt, fat cap trimmed to 1/8 inch thick, cut into 2 inch chunks
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 small onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lime
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 medium orange

Garnishes (suggestions)
  • Tortillas
  • Lime Wedges
  • Mince white or red onion
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Sour cream
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole

Cooking Supplies You'll Need
  • Large Dutch Oven
  • Cookie Sheet with a cookie cooling rack that fits in it
  • Slotted Spoon
  • Spatula
  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
Advice: I will typically make a double batch, since you're going through all this trouble might as well make extra and freeze some. So I'll use about 7-8 pounds of meat. Then just double all of the other ingredients.


Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. 
  1. Combine pork, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cumin, onion, bay leaves, oregano, lime juice, and water in large Dutch oven (liquid should just barely cover meat). 

     2.  Juice orange into medium bowl and remove any seeds (you should have about 1/3 cup juice).
          Add juice and spent orange halves to pot. 

     3.  Bring mixture to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. 

     4.  Once simmering cover pot and transfer to oven;  

     5. Cook until meat is soft and falls apart when prodded with fork, about 2 hours (the recipe calls
         for 2 hours, I typically will do 3 hours, we find that it turns out a little bit better, but if you're
         pressed for time, 2 hours is good too), flipping pieces of meat once during cooking.

     6. Remove pot from oven and turn oven to broil. 

     7. 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).

     8. If you are making a double batch, I pour half the liquid into another pot and do this in two
          pots, makes for more sauce. Place pot over high heat (use caution, as handles will be very hot)
         and simmer liquid, stirring frequently, until thick and syrupy (heatsafe spatula should leave
         wide trail when dragged through glaze), 15 minutes or so. You should have about 1 cup reduced

  10.  Using 2 forks, pull each piece of pork in half. Fold in reduced liquid; season with salt and
         pepper to taste. I don't pull each piece apart into 1 inch chunks, I personally don't like making
         tacos with such large pieces of meat, as you can see from the picture, some are in chunks and
        others are shredded, do what works for you.

   11.  Spread pork in even layer on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet or on broiler pan 
       (meat should cover almost entire surface of rack or broiler pan).
       See how the meat is sort of "shredded/chunks"?

   12.  Place baking sheet on lower-middle rack and broil  until top of meat is well browned and
          edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes It looks burned but it tastes WAY better with a few
          extra crispy pieces. Using  wide spatula, flip pieces of meat and continue

       to broil until top is well browned and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes longer. 

See how easy that was?

13.  Serve immediately with warm tortillas and garnishes. We used flour tortillas because I'm allergic
       to corn, but this would be delicious with some corn tortillas.

Happy Weekend!  We're hanging out with friends, celebrating babies and eating lots of yummy food. Doing anything fun and exciting? Whatever it is, eat well and be happy, it's the weekend!

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