Carnitas

When I started my culinary journey, I started going out to eat and trying new things and new restaurants.  Now, of course that can be good enough for some folks.  However, I wanted to do more than just try new food.  I wanted to make it.

My journey started in Las Vegas, NV.  I was blessed by many different Mexican joints.  One of which was the Macayo Mexican Kitchen, where I got my first taste of Carnitas. The Carnitas dinner plate started my journey.

The best thing about this recipe is the crispy pork that has crisped up in its own fat, and of course the orange juice that deeply penetrates the meat.  This wonderful combination with the garlic is something to have at least once in your life.

You of course can do this in a Dutch oven in the home oven.  With the amount of rendered fat, having it away from your home seems like the prudent choice.  Much like frying a turkey.  Think about it.

Carnitas

Serves 4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 6 hours
Total time 6 hours, 20 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Occasion Casual Party
Region Mexican

Ingredients

  • 8 Lbs pork butt (extra fat removed)
  • 1 cup orange juice (about 3 oranges)
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon achiote oil
  • 8 Cloves garlic (minced)

Directions

Step 1
If you are going to smoke your pork, set it up for a 5 hour cook over indirect heat at 350 degrees F. If you are using a Big Green Egg, invert the plate setter with a trivet on it so it will diffuse the heat and keep the bottom of the pork from burning.
Step 2
While your grill is coming to temperature, cut the roast into 3 to 4-inch chunks, be sure to discard any connective tissue, however keep the fat. Fat is flavor and will help make the pork taste great.
Step 3
Combine all of the ingredients in a Dutch oven, stir to combine completely. Cover the Dutch oven with the lid and set it on the grill. Let it simmer for an hour. The orange juice will be bubbly and the fat in the meat should have started to break down.
Step 4
After the fat has started to render, in order to get the meat to crisp up you will need to reduce the liquid. Remove the lid and let it simmer for another hour. Keep checking and stirring every hour, until most of this liquid has evaporated and the pork started to fry in its fat (this will be about the 3 hour mark).
Step 5
Then, you need to start checking the meat ever 15 minutes to ensure that the meat is getting crispy, and not becoming dry or burned. Total cook time is about 4 - 5 hours.

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