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authentic carne asada & pork carnitas recipes?

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does anyone have a great recipe? we're having a taco party this wknd and i'm in charge of the beef/pork fillings - help!

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  1. Carnitas I can't help with -- we ALWAYS just buy it -- but carne asada is easy if you have a Mexican market near you... they sell the seasoning for you (it's red-orange, in a plastic shaker about 5 inches high).

    Buy skirt steak, flap meat, clod steak or flatiron steak. Rub with oil. Sprinkle liberally with the seasoning powder (which is salty). Grill 2 minutes a side.

    1. Carne asada is beef steak (the cuts of steak mentioned in the above post are good choices) marinated in lime juice, black pepper and garlic. I usually add ground chili powder and chopped cilantro. Marinate a few hours, any longer will cause the lime to 'cooked' the meat. Salt the steak before grilling.
      Carnitas: use boned pork shoulder (pork butt)with some fat, cut into 2 inch by 1 inch pieces. Place the pork, single layer, in a heavy skill and barely cover with water. Use two skillets if necessary so that the pork pieces are not packed. Add some salt and couple of bay leaves). Bring up to a boil and IMMEDIATELY turn down flame to a simmer. Let it simmer for about 1 1/2 hour or until the pork is tender and water is evaporated and some of the fat is rendered. Add a little water if it dries out before the pork is tender. Some like pork to be a just tender, others like it to be very tender and falling apart. Remove the bay leaves. Raise heat to high and brown the pork pieces. Reseason with salt and pepper. If I can get hold of real lard, I simmer pork in it. Drain it when pork is done and brown the pieces.

      1 Reply
      1. re: PBSF

        I use the Bayless recipe where the pork is submerged in lard and left to slowly brown. The only seasonings he uses are lime zest and salt. No water no bay leaves etc. He calls for country style ribs to be used. I used what were labled country style but cut from the shoulder.

      2. Candy's method on Carnitas, in my opinion, yields the best result. essentially, slowly simmer very large chunks of pork shoulder in lard (country style ribs are cut from the pork shoulder), with a peel of an orange in it. After a good hour and a half (check to make sure it is tender), crank up the heat of the lard and brown it. Don't over brown.

        Take it out with a slotted spoon on paper towels. Break into chunks and salt immediately.

        2 Replies
        1. re: adamclyde

          Love, love, love carnitas! If you don't want to simmer in lard, this recipe from epicurious simmers simmers in water and OJ (I actually use chicken broth instead of water).

          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

          1. re: TorontoJo

            I second this. It's a great recipe - I use it a lot when I don't feel like the production of simmering a pork shoulder in lard. The flavor is great with this short-cut - the OJ and brandy approximate the sour orange and rock sugar used in authentic Michoacan recipes, and the trimmed pork fat, like lard, coats the chunks of pork as they cook.

        2. As stated with the previous posts, lard adds a meatiness to carnitas that is hard to duplicate. If you cannot get real lard or render your own...do not use the lard/manteca commonly sold in supermarkets. It is hydrogenated fat and tasteless.

          1. Where does one buy 'real' lard, a butcher? Is it, the 'real' stuff, sold in any markets?

            3 Replies
            1. re: Jesdamala

              There is a discussion on lard in an earlier post. Link below.
              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

              1. re: PBSF

                Thank you. I have read earlier discussions, and even looked online, but still have not come up with a specific place to buy the real deal in Los Angeles. I have not gone out and walked into various butcher shops or Mexican markets to inquire, however. I guess this is next.

                1. re: Jesdamala

                  Your best option to find lard in Los Angeles is to head east and go to a Mexican carcineria. I found lard at the San Antonio market on Alvarado and Sunset, but it wasn't particularly special or flavorful.

                  You can also render your own.

                  Whatever you do, stay away from the flavorless, white commercial product.

                  ETA: here's a link to a discussion from the Los Angeles board that I started a while back when I was looking for a good source of lard:

                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

            2. For carne asada, the recipe linked below for Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak is very good. The recipes linked to it, for rajas con crema and fresh tomato salsa, are also very good.

              http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

              1. Well, I will soon be off on my lard hunt, and I would like to ask another question. I have seen receipes that have milk as an ingredient, hummm, in a book or magazine around here. What would be the purpose of milk? Wish I could refer to a specific receipe, will see if I can locate.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Jesdamala

                  milk as an ingredient in Carnitas? No idea - never heard of that. I think Marcela Hazan has a recipe for milk braised pork shoulder, but never heard of it in a mexican/carnitas recipe.

                  About your question above - any mexican bodega that sells meat will have lard/manteca. it will probably be in a tub.

                  1. re: Jesdamala

                    Bruce Aidells in his book, The Complete Meat Cookbook, uses milk in his recipe for carnitas. It is his way of compensating for not using lard

                  2. Bruce Aidells in his book, The Complete Meat Cookbook, uses milk in his recipe for carnitas. It is his way of compensating for not using lard.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: PBSF

                      Ah hah! Thanks. Wondering. I was thinking it had to so with adding something sweet, to aid in the carmelizing. Just guessing though. Have you done it this way?

                      1. re: Jesdamala

                        I have not. I cringed when I saw that recipe. I've often made the Italian pork braised with milk for family/friends but I don't like it very much.

                    2. another cookbook you might want to check out for the grilled portion is "let the flames begin" by chris schlesinger and doc willoughby. those guys know from latin food, and chris taught me almost everything i know about grilling... his books are great. i think that one is the best, though.