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Old 05-09-2008, 04:57 PM   #1
Sous Chef
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Austin, TX.
Posts: 555
Carnitas, how to?

Iso, mexican "carnitas".... pork cubes for Tacos...

from the recipes I see, there is substantial variation on the cooking method...

from essentially ''boiling in fat",... to brown, then slow cook in water,... to put them in a slow cooker, then put into a hot oven to brown...

Any help?
Thanks, Eric Austin Tx.


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Old 05-09-2008, 05:20 PM   #2
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Location: Massachusetts
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I braise the pork chunks in a dutch oven with peppers, herbs and spices. I use chicken and beef broth for a liquid. Then the cooked chunks go into the oven to form a crust. Then I shred (pull) it. I defat the liquid and puree it for a sauce.

"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
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Old 05-09-2008, 07:43 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Texas Gulf Coast
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I jotted down some notes a few years ago. This is not exact but the main thing is to brown the meat on the grill, I think it makes them better.

1 habanero chile or any hot pepper
2 cloves garlic
2 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons spice mix
mix in blender to make a paste

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder,boston butt, etc
1 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon mexican oregano
2 cups chicken broth

Cut pork into 3 inch chunks. Rub well with marinade. Put in ziploc bag and let sit for 2 hrs. Grill over hot coals until nice and brown but not done. Put the pork into a large skillet or wok. Add chicken broth to come up halfway on the meat. Add the chili powder and mexican oregano. I like to add a dried chipotle at this point but the result is very spicy. Cover and simmer for 2 hrs, turning occasionally. The pork should be just about falling apart at this point. Remove the pork and shred. Add a little of the pan juice if needed to keep pork nice and moist.
We make soft tacos with flour tortillas, lettuce, tomato, cheese, avocado, etc. I've made enchiladas with the leftovers too. This is a great party recipe, just up the amount. We like to set everything out and let everyone make their own tacos.

Use whatever you like for the spice mix. Chili powder, cumin and salt make a good one.
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:33 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: usa
Posts: 2,223
I made my first carnitas Monday night...

Took a pack of taco mix (egads!), juice of half an orange, half a lime,
1/4 cup of brown sugar, 4 garlic cloves minced, 1 japaleno minced,
1 shallot grated and 2 good dashes of mesquite smoke flavoring.

Cut a pork roast into 3-4 inch "cubes", removed most of the fat.
Rubbed the spice mixture into it and let it marinate for 24 hours, mixing

Didn't sear or brown the meat first, just put it into a roasting pan with
2 cups chicken stock, 3 crushed cloves of garlic, 1 japaleno cut in 4ths and half an onion, sliced. Edit to add: I also poured in a can of Rotel Cilantro and Lime Peppers and Tomatoes.
Covered and put in the oven at 300 degrees for about 2 1/2 hours. Meat
was at 190 when I removed it and pulled it.
Meat went back into the roasting pan and into the oven, at 425 degrees. When it
was nicely browned, I mixed it to let more get brown and crispy.
The pan juices went into the freezer; by the time the meat was done, the fat had
congealed at the top and was easy to remove. Then, the juices went back into
the meat for some moisture and extra flavor.

Astoundingly good if I say so myself! And thanks to RosCoe in this thread... I based my recipe and method on his advice....

Here's a picture of the meat just as it is going into the oven....
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Old 05-17-2008, 10:05 AM   #5
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Location: Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico
Posts: 1,914
I think that all of your recipes and techniques sound good. Here in Mexico, the method of cooking carnitas is as varied as the cooks and their equipment. There don't seem to be any hard and fast rules. After some experimentation, I have settled on Andy's method as preferable for me. Sometimes I skip the oven step and do it like RosCoe suggests. Cooking the pork in liquid seems to gove it a tenderness and mooistness that is really good. But the "authentic" method here continues to be cooked in lard. One day about a year ago, we could smell the most amazing smell wafting through our neighborhood. Our neighbor Pepe came to our front gate and said, "Carnitas!" and motioned us to come over and have some. The big pot was bubbling in the yard over a fire and I'm telling you, it was so GOOD. Tucked into a nice soft corn tortilla....oh yum. Chunks that were crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. Garnished with salsa verde, sliced radishes, cucumbers, onions and limes - always limes.
Saludos, Karen
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