Carnitas, translation? Little pieces of meat, typically pork, sometimes beef cooked slowly in a series of juices and spices. It's really good, try it if you havent.
I once was told that I was Mexican in my past life, if this it true it sure would explain a whole heck of a lot. My family has zero ties to Latin cultures yet I have always felt a strong bond to it. I crave Spanish speaking environments and love surrounding myself in their beautiful rich culture.
Alright, I did grow up in both Southern California and New Mexico, that probably has something to do with it. Mexican food runs deep in our blood and was very much a part of my upbringing. The other day I was having a serious craving and wanted to tackle this unknown juicy braised meat territory, so I reached out to my good friend Kari who is an awesome cook and I knew would be onboard. We made plans for a taco night and our usual viewing of Girls. It turned out delicious, the combination of juicy braised pork topped with salty cojita cheese, finely diced onion and cilantro, a generous squeeze of lime juice and hot sauce is well, my happy place.
Pulled Pork (Carnitas)
5 pound pork butt wrapped in twine
4 cups of orange juice
1 lime (juice)
1 cup of olive oil
1 tbl corriander
1 tbl coffee grinds
2 tbl cumin
3 tbl New Mexico red chili
4 tbl kosher salt
1 pilsner beer
3 cloves garlic
thinly sliced radish
chopped white onion
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pull meat from fridge, prick with a pairing knife, salt and let rest for 15 minutes.
In a cast iron skillet sear the meat on all sides with some of the olive oil and set aside.
In a blender or with a whisk combine chopped garlic, orange juice, lime juice and all the spices, slowly pour in olive oil
Slice the onion and arrange on the base of a dutch oven with a fitted lid. Place pork on top of the onions and pour the marinade and beer on top until the pork is almost fully submerged.
Put the lid on and place in the middle rack of our preheated oven. Cook for 4 hours, slow and low. You can check it midway and top off with another splash of beer if needed.
When complete, use tongs and a fork to pull the meat.
Warm tortillas, serve pulled pork with thinly sliced radishes, chopped onion, cilantro and cojita cheese. Hot sauce is essential.