Well, well, well, carnitas…we meet again. Why are you so damn good? You meaty, moist, caramelized, naughty pork, you! The way the citrus and cumin perfume you. The way you melt in our mouths. The waft of porky goodness that fills our home. We know we don’t see each other often enough, but when we do…it’s sure to be a night to be remembered.
Carnitas is slow-cooked pork that when just tender enough, the heat gets cranked up, and the tender pieces sear in their own fat to get that crusty texture on the outside and a tender, fall-apart texture on the inside. We serve ours with homemade tortillas and the fixings. Invite others to join because something this stinkin’ tasty needs to be shared!
Serves 4 people / 2 people with leftovers
2 1/2 lbs pork shoulder (cut into 1 inch cubes)
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
Place all the ingredients in a dutch oven or large pot with enough water to just cover. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the temperature to medium-low to simmer the pork. Simmer the meat uncovered for 2 hours.
**You might need to adjust the setting on your stove to keep a slow and steady simmer going. For us, that’s on medium because we have an electric stove. If you have a gas stove, you might need to keep it on the lowest setting. What you want to see are slight bubbles in the liquid.
After 2 hours, increase the heat to medium-high, so all the liquid can evaporate. Once the liquid has evaporated, the pork will begin to render off its fat, about 30 minutes. This fat will sear the outside of the meat. You want to gingerly rotate the meat, so every side gets a little sear on it.
**Be very careful when flipping the meat at this stage. The pork is fall-apart tender, and when flipped in the pot, it could fall apart. If it falls apart and sears in the fat, it could dry out. You want to keep the pieces as much intact as possible.
Once the meat has been seared, it’s ready to be served. Remove from the pot and place on the platter you’re serving in.
Serve with homemade tortillas, guacamole, Pineapple Mango Habanero Hot Sauce, slaw (found in fish taco recipe), crema (found in fish taco recipe), pickled red onions, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and sliced serrano chilis.