I love Pork. I should probably go on a diet.

CarnitasWith a heads up to the Doc on this recipe, I give you the king of all pork recipes (IMHO) ---> Carnitas. Equal parts crispy and soft, the texture of this dish alone is divine. Salty, and a bit sweet, rich and filling, this is one of those foods that is capable of transporting me back to a special place and time. You'll need:

A boston butt or pork shoulder roast (what ever size will be able to fit in your crock pot)
A dry rub consisting of roughly equal parts brown sugar, red chili powder, cumin, salt and some crushed black pepper (feel free to proportion your rub however you want, what you're looking for is a balance between the sugar and the spice, and everything nice)
1/2 a bottle of beer, really doesn't matter here, but for argument's sake we'll go with bohemia
1 small onion chopped medium
4 cloves of garlic smashed and minced
1 4 oz can of hot green chili (or fire roast a couple anaheim peppers, remove the skin and seeds, and chop fine)
corn tortillas
fresh cilantro

Method:
The night before rub the meat with dry spice mixture and cover with plastic wrap. The next morning remove the roast and let sit while you cook breakfast and read the morning news. Wash your breakfast dishes and heat a cast iron skillet (or any pan for that matter) over medium high heat. Brown the roast on all sides. Put the roast into the crock pot and cover with 1/2 bottle of beer, onion, green chili, and garlic. Cover and cook on high until the liquid is near a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for ~6 ish hours. You're looking for the bone to fall out and the meat to fall apart and shred easily. Remove the meat, shred and remove and discard the fatty deposits. While you are shredding the meat place the ceramic dish with liquid into the fridge to aid in de-fating the pan juices. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and toss in the shredded meat making an even layer. Don't stir too much here because you're looking for the bottom of the pan to get crispy while keeping the soft texture of the braised meat intact on top. Once you have de-fatted the pan juice, and the bottom of the pan is good and crispy, pour the liquid into the pan and stir quickly to release the really crispy bits of fond from the bottom of the skillet.

On the side, you'll need a small frying pan over medium heat to warm up the corn tortillas. This is a little labor intensive but worth the time. I've found using a kitchen sprayer to spritz a little olive oil onto each side of a tortilla reduces the amount of fat that you'll be depositing into the corn which equals a slightly healthier final product. Cook on one side until you notice little puffs developing, spritz a little oil onto the other side and flip over. You're looking for these to be flexible and a little bit browned but not tortilla chip crunchy.

Serve the carnitas on corn tortillas with some chopped cilantro on top with calabacitas on the side (or some Elote (corn on the cob with mayo, lime, and chili powder if you want to be less healthy). A perfect summer dish.

9 thoughts on “I love Pork. I should probably go on a diet.”

  1. They don't call him 'meat' for nothing.

    Sounds dee-lish, printer. Mark this down as another one that I will try (once I get my nearly 1-year old crock pot out of it's unopened packaging.)

    1. We got three crock pots (one large-ish, two medium) for wedding gifts. Mrs. Hayes wanted to take one back and exchange it for store credit, but I told her we should hold onto it. The first time I used it was 2.5 years later, when I made pulled pork for an open house. That third pot really came in handy.

    2. I should note here that this can be accomplished in a conventional oven by placing the roast in a pan / Dutch oven and cooking at 225 - 250 for a the same amount of time.

      I just mention the use of the crock pot because it's easier and it's ubiquitous.

  2. I would like to make this, but I'm still working through the chili pork I made like 3 weeks ago. And now that it's just me, it would take even longer to eat it all. I might make this once I get up to Mom & Dad's.

    1. You can make this smaller by using a country style rib or two. On the beer front, I've always found a use for the other half bottle, but to be fair I do have a bottle caper laying around and have been known to recap an opened beer from time to time.

        1. Amazon has these handy dandy fat separators, but I've never tried one. I know that you can pour the liquid into a smaller, clear vessel and wait for the fat to float to the top. You then use a turkey baster to take the liquid off the bottom without disturbing the fat at the top. That method has worked for me in the past, but I find that I end up taking a fair bit more of the fat into the finished product than I would like.

          1. I have and frequently use my cheapo plastic fat separator, similar to the Oster in meat's link. I think it holds about 1.5 cups of liquid, has a spout that connects near the bottom, and has a strainer lid. It works great and definitely is worth the $10 or so investment.

            Great recipe, meat.

            I can't emphasize enough the value of following meat's recommendation to brown the pork well before crock-potting. If you don't, you will still get tasty pork. But if you do, you will be on the winning team.

            I usually trim most of the fat cap off of the butt before rubbing. There is still plenty o' fat throughout the joint to keep this bad boy moist and flavorful.

            Also, meat's technique for the tortillas is crucial for getting maximum awesomeness.

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