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carnitas - thanks for the inspiration! (pic)

  • g

after reading some carnitas recipes the other day I decided that it was time to make my first carnitas. there was a special at the store on boneless country style ribs so it seemed like an additional sign. I cooked the chunks of pork down with water, orange juice, salt & pepper, a bit of paprika, cumin, and some Buffalo chipotle sauce .... let it all cook down.
The bottom of the pan started to scorch before I got any nice brown spots on the meat but when I fired up my wok I got some nice color very easily.
It's a warm night and I'm looking forward to sitting out on the deck with my carnitas, some freshly made salsa, avacado and some tortillas. thanks for the inspiration!

Link: http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e36...

Image: http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e36...

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  1. Man that looks good.
    I haven't made any yet, but intend to soon. I haven't decided between a method like yours, or trying the hard core method of simmering in lard.
    Any thoughts?

    4 Replies
    1. re: Spencer

      because I used the country style ribs there was sufficient fat for mouth feel and a nice richness .... I didn't miss the lard as a cooking medium.
      I was surprised at how fast the pork browned up when I put it in my wok.
      you can try it with water/orange juice first and then if it's not rich enough for you then you can go for the lard.... I think you'll find it rich enough even with water. If you use pork butt then there might be less fat as a percentage.

      1. re: gordon wing

        FWIW, pork butt and country style ribs are the same piece of meat. they are both pork shoulder, just butchered differently...

        1. re: adamclyde

          thanks, I didn't realize that they were from the same area/cut. I somehow remember cutting up a big piece of the shoulder/butt and seeing more lean meat as a percentage than what I usually see when I look at the meat on country ribs.... but maybe it all averages out to be similar?

          1. re: adamclyde

            FWIW and adamclyde, contry style ribs are not cut from the pork butt. They are from the loin. Ribs are a little farther down the body. No ribs in a shoulder! I think the confusion comes from what some butchers or grocers call country-style "strips". Those are cut from the butt (shoulder). That's what I'll use for my carnitas tonight using Rick Bayless' method of lard, water and citrus rinds, etc. - yum!

      2. That looks absolutely delicious. Thanks to the previous thread I'm also planning to make this over the weekend.

        1. thanks. The discussion has definitely put it on my Must Try List for the month, although I live w/a short distance from a Latin Restaurant that does damn good carnitas on wkends.

          When getting yr. accompaniments ready, don't forget how exc. a salsa Mangoes make.

          1. You can also just cook till the water is gone and then fry up as needed, or use the liquor (sans fat) for a tasty broth for making rice.

            Or unseasoned you can make half into pork rillettes and half into carnitas.

            1. I put a dash of cointreau in my carnitas. Totally not traditional, but darned tasty!

              1. I made my carnitas this weekend. They turned out very tasty but the big star was the Pico de Gallo which I made to accompany them. I used Emeril's recipe, found here:

                It added a wonderful fresh, spicy zing to the meat. I also made flour tortillas (Rick Bayless' recipe) and guacamole. Altogether a very satisfying meal.

                1. I was the one that posted looking for the Carnitas recipe and I too thank all who replied. I made the recipe that, I think, came from Epicurious. The Carnitas were amazing..
                  ...and with leftovers we had Burritos, which were really good too.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JPomer

                    I had never thought to cook in lard. I'd just slow cooked in water and spices.

                    Has anyone gone on to use the spiced used lard for making soap?

                  2. I think the sugar from the OJ probably helped with the browning.

                    1. I'm guessing my dinner invitation got lost in email, right? ;-)
                      Carnita's......... I will make my own now that I see how perfect they come out without deep frying in lard!
                      Tell me about the bottom of the pan scorch you mentioned- were they burning from the OJ so you finished in another pan?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Boccone Dolce

                        i made this recipe a few weeks back and it was truly one of the best things i have ever eaten. i made them with her green sauce and it was such a hit!
                        towards the end of cooking, there was still alot of liquid left so i drained the meat in a colander, spread it out on a foil lined 1/2 sheet pan and baked at about 450 for about 10 minutes to crisp it up a bit. it was fantastic!


                      2. Those carnitas look amazing.

                        I just want to put in a plug for jungmann's carnitas recipe. It's near the end of the Superbowl post. I pretty much followed the recipe as written, except I added a couple of orange wedges (about 1/2 and orange total), some cayenne, and some red pepper flakes. It was excellent.

                        Scroll down to the end of the post for the recipe.


                        Thanks, jungmann!