Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Braised Carnitas

Helllloooooo my long lost friends!  I am so sorry for abandoning you all for such a long time.  The end of the year was filled with lots of travel, family,  holidays, food and fun.  Well, not all fun because I was sick, like very sick, for the last two weeks of December.  No bueno, but I'm finally feeling better and more like myself.  

Now that Heather's got her groove back, I'm ready to rock and roll and share more recipes and travel with you all this year.  In addition to lots of travel for work, I also have two very dear friends who will be getting hitched!  So thrilled to be part of the upcoming celebrations and nuptials. 

 So to kick of 2015, I'd like to share with you this kick a$$ recipe for carnitas at home!  These take a little bit of time and effort, but all the steps are super easy.  Once you make the rub and find all of the ingredients, it is quite simple to throw together.  Most of the time, the pork is just slow cooking in the oven. 

Let's just talk about slow cooking meat in the oven.  Low and slow (in my Isaac Hayes voice) is the answer to all of your dry meat prayers, as is braising in an aromatic filled liquid.  When I pulled this pork out of the oven, it was basically falling apart.  So good.

We have been eating this pork for the past few days and we're not even close to being sick of it.  The flavor is out of this world and it tastes just as good as any Mexican carnitas dish out there.  A Mexican fiesta at home, count me in!  

Well, it feels so good to be back.   Stay tuned my friends, for there will be more to come!    

Braised Carnitas

Dry Rub
1 tablespoon ground coffee
1 tablespoon  paprika
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon corriander
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Mix together in a small bowl.  If you use a 4 pound pork shoulder, you will use all of this rub. If you are using smaller cut of meat, save some for another time or piece of meat.  This would go great on ribs or brisket.  

4-5 pound boneless pork shoulder, skin on
dry rub
1 onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic
6 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
10 cloves
4 dried red chilies
1 cup lard (or butter or shorting)
2 cups chicken stock

Cut pork shoulder into large chunks, about the size of a baseball or Rubik's cube {patting myself on the back with that random visualization analogy}.  Toss pork with the dry rub and let sit ofr at least an hour.  The more time, the better with overnight being best.

Chop onion and peel garlic.  In a large dutch oven, heat lard (or some type of fat/oil) over low heat.  Add onion, garlic, bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves and chilies and cook in oil for 5-10 minutes, until onions are slightly softened and the aromatics are fragrant.

Add pork chunks and stir to coat in the fat and onions.  Cook for another 5 minutes, continually stirring to coat pork in onion mixture.  Add chicken stock to slightly cover the meat.  Put lid on pan and cook in a 250 degree oven for 4-5 hours.

Take pot out of the oven and remove the pork from the liquid so it can cool.  I like to get two cookie sheets out.  One for the pork chunks and one for the pork once it has been shredded.

Pot the pot of liquid back on a burner and bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Cook over medium heat until liquid has reduced by over half.  Strain liquid and then pour the fat off of the top.  What remains should be a very concentrated form of the cooking liquid, full of FLAVOR.

Pull the pork and remove any large pieces of fat or grizzle.  Evenly distribute shredded pork on a cookie sheet.  Spoon reserved liquid over the pork, not all of it but just enough to coat the pork, not soak it.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and throw the pork in an oven with the broiler on high.  Cook for 8-10 minutes, just until pork is brown and crispy on the top.

Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare the toppings.

cotija cheese (or queso blanco)
pico de gallo (tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, cilantro, lime juice salt and pepper)
lime wedges
{more} cilantro
crushed chicharones (fried pork skin...mmm)
hot sauce
sour cream

After that carnitas labor-of-love, it's time to build some tacos.  You know what to do,  Here are some of my favorite toppings!


  1. Yumm! We love making fancy tacos at our house (I call the fancy because they're fancier than the ground beef + grocery store packet of seasoning...). We usually make chicken tomatillo tacos; we'll have to try this!

    Glad you're feeling better - I got sick around Christmastime, too. It was awful!

    1. Hello long lost blog friend! So good to hear from you :) Chicken tomatillo tacos sound delish! I love all of your pictures of your growing family (including your furry kids) :) Keep 'em coming!


I would LOVE to hear from you! If you don't have one of the listed accounts in the "Comment as" drop down box, simply just use the Name/URL choice and you don't have to put in a URL!

Pin It button on image hover
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...