I’ve been sitting here struggling with what to call these guys. I know they’re pork carnitas but what I really want the title of this post to be is The-Best-Pork-Canitas-In-The-Whole-Wide-World or The-Best-Damn-Carnitas-You-Have-Ever-Eaten-In-Your-Whole-Entire-Life. But I thought that would be a little overkill.
I can’t believe I’m reining myself in, for once.
BTW do you know what kind of pepper that is that is on the blue cutting board? I was given a whole bag of random delicious dried peppers (thank you!!) but I don’t know what they are. I think it is an ancho chilli pepper but if you know for sure I’d love to find out!
I wish I had a recording of what it sounded like around the dinner table when we were eating these to share with you. Or not, it would be a bit embarrassing.
It sound something like this:
“OMG OMG!” “Holy damn woman these are so good!” What the f**k how is it possible these are so good?!”
I’m not even kidding you. When I realized our balcony door was open and that all of our neighbours could hear us I *might* have felt a little embarrassed. Just a little. Right before I took another giant bite. And then another.
I’ve actually made this dish a few times now because, well, I’m a bit obsessed with it. I’ve made it with chicken too and it was also ridiculously good. I’ve also cut out little circles from the tortillas using a cookie cutter and then assembled mini carnitas as an appetizer. They were seriously cute.
I’ve linked to David Lebovitz’s recipe for the pickled red onions that have become a staple in my fridge for the past few months. You’ll find they’re great on burgers, sandwiches or on a cheese platter too.
- 1½ tablespoons of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ cup of bacon fat or grape seed oil
- 2½ pounds pork butt or bone in side ribs
- 1 large can of beer (or a small one, it doesn’t need to be exact)
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 whole dried guajillo pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- Mix together all spices in a small bowl. Set aside.
- If using pork butt, cut into fist size pieces. If using ribs, remove thin silver membrane from back of ribs and slice into individual ribs.
- Liberally coat each piece in the dry rub mix.
- Heat bacon fat, or grape seed oil, over high heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Working in batches if necessary brown the pork on all sides. Carefully add the pork to the pan (stand back a little as it may splatter.) Let each side of the meat come to a nice dark brown. Remove pieces as they finish browning and place them in a large bowl.
- Once all pork is browned carefully pour the beer into the pot. Stir, scrapping the bottom of the pot to remove any brown bits. Add the garlic, oregano, pepper, bay leaf and any remaining spice rub. Put the pork back into the pot in a single layer. If necessary add water so that the liquid is half way up the sides of the pork.
- Move the pot to the smallest element you have and cook on the lowest heat for 4-5 hours. You want to keep the liquid at a very gentle simmer the entire time. Prop the lid slightly off if it is simmering too hard.
- After about 4 hours check the pork to see if the pork is done. If it falls apart when you try to pick it up with a fork it is done.
- Once the pork has finished cooking remove it from the pot and place it in a large bowl. Keep the cooking liquid in the pot. If using pork ribs wait until they have cooled enough to handle then remove the meat from the bones.
- Shred the meat using 2 forks. It should fall apart very easily. If it doesn’t it needs to be cooked longer.
- Remove the bay leave and pepper from the cooking liquid. Discard the bay leave and the stem of the pepper. Finely mince the pepper and add it back into the pot with the cooking liquid and bring it to a boil. Continue to boil, uncovered, until the cooking liquid has reduced to a thick paste, about 15-20 minutes. Watch carefully and stir almost continuously near the end to prevent it from burning to the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat and carefully pour off any excess fat.
- Position the oven rack in the top half of your oven and preheat to 500 degrees.
- Mix the reduced cooking liquid and the pulled pork together. Spread out evenly on a baking sheet.
- Broil the pulled pork for 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy.
- Serve carnitas on corn tortillas with guacamole, pickled red onions and some shredded cabbage.