Carnitas

Carnitas
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When I think about Mexican food, the first thing I think of is carnitas. Good carnitas. This is always the first thing I try at any Mexican restaurant and, if it isn’t good, I don’t go back.

Done right, carnitas is full of flavor, moist and juicy, with delicious crispy edges. I’ve made it several ways at home, but this recipe is definitely my favorite.

Carnitas Recipe

Carnitas

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Time Resting in Fridge with Rub on before cooking 1 day
Total Time 1 day 8 hours 35 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 253kcal
Author While It's Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1 whole Pork Butt Roast fat trimmed

Rub

  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp dried chipotle pepper
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves

Cooking Liquid

  • 3 whole jalapenos cut in half, seeds removed
  • 2 whole oranges cut in quarters
  • 1½-2 cups chicken broth (depending on size of pan used - enough to have about 1 inch of broth in the pan with the meat)

For Final Cook

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp lime juice from 1 fresh squeezed lime

Instructions

Rub and Refrigerate Overnight

  • Mix rub ingredients in small bowl.
  • Remove web holding roast together and cut roast into 1½ to 2 inch thick "steaks" (a typical pork butt roast usually gets me 5 "steaks").
  • Use rub to coat entire surface of each pork steak and place in roasting pan (I like to use disposable aluminum roasting pans for this to make cleanup easier).
  • Cover with aluminum foil and place in refrigerator for at least 8 hours (overnight).

Slow Roast the Meat

  • Preheat oven to 200° F.
  • Pour chicken broth around the meat and place jalapenos and oranges in the spaces between the meat.
  • Cover pan with aluminum foil and slow roast for 8 hours. (The meat will reach 170° temperature for "done" pork within a few hours, but the extra time gets it so the fats break down and the meat starts to just fall apart).
  • Remove from oven and check tenderness (it should easily fall apart with a fork at this point - if it doesn't, put back in oven for another hour and check again).

Shred and then Broil Meat

  • Increase oven temperature to broil (if your oven doesn't have a broil function, set it to bake at 500° F.)
  • When meat is tender, shred or chop the steaks into cubes (if you plan to freeze or set aside some of the meat to use at another time, don't cut up those steaks - wait until you are ready to use them).
  • Heat vegetable oil in cast iron skillet over high heat.
  • Sear pork (if cooking the whole roast, work in a couple batches) for about 1 minute until you get a little browning on the meat, then transfer skillet to hot oven for about 5 minutes until it has a good amount of crispy brown bits on top.
  • Remove from oven and squeeze lime juice over top.

Nutrition

Calories: 253kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 1143mg | Potassium: 550mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 27IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 3mg
Make it a Meal…

Serve with tortillas, salsa, grilled peppers and onions, cilantro lime rice, Mexican crema, and beans to make amazing “burrito bowls” or tacos.

Mexican Crema

Mexican Crema
Genti and Hyers for the New York Times. Food stylist: Maggie Ruggiero. Prop stylist: Amy Wilson
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While It's Cooking

I love cooking. Always have. As a busy mother of two young kids, oftentimes the best time I have to pick up a cookbook or explore a new idea is while food is cooking. Sometimes I use that time to explore more about the meal I am preparing - the food, the traditions, the culture. Sometimes I use that time to figure out what I'm going to cook next and delve deeper into ingredients and techniques to experiment with. Usually while I'm cooking my family leaves me alone in the kitchen and I can enjoy a rare moment to myself. One of my favorite times of the day is "While It's Cooking."

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