We had suite tickets for Dane Cook on Sunday night. Before going we met up with some friends at their house. Since my friend’s husband was planning on staying behind to watch the new baby, we decided to bring dinner over. I made carnitas.
Carnitas are traditionally slow cooked in its own fat in a large copper pan called a “caso.” Some methods of cooking are not well suited for the modern kitchen. If I was at my parent’s or my grandparent’s home cooking chunks of meat in a large pot of fat would not be a problem at all. My mom used to do this all the time in large 10 gallon pots. So here is the compromise. I slow braised it with a little water for about 2 hours, let the meat cool, brown the pieces in its own rendered fat plus more rendered bacon fat. (My Boston butt was not very fatty so I needed a little more fat to help with the browning.) I served them as the filling for soft tacos.
3 to 4 pounds Boston butt, sliced into 1 ½ inch slices) salt pepper 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder 1 teaspoon Mexican cut oregano 1 clove garlic, minced 2 bay leaves 2 cups water bacon drippings or oil, as needed
Method: 1. Marinate sliced pork with salt, pepper, ancho chile, Mexican oregano, garlic and bay leaves overnight or at least 4 hours. 2. In a cast iron dutch oven add the marinated pork and water and bring to a simmer. Braise for two hours. After two hours, drain the liquid but reserve the drippings. (I use the pork liquid to cook the rice.) 3. Shallow fry the pork in the reserved drippings plus additional bacon drippings or oil, if needed. Fry until the pieces are crispy. Cut the meat into small chunks. 4. Serve with tortillas, guacamole, salsa, cheese and any other taco garnishes.