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Non-Carnitas Ideas For Pork Shoulder

I'm making pork in addition to the Thanksgiving birds. We normally do traditional carnitas cooked in lard but want to try something a little different for the holiday, although we will still be making fresh tortillas.

Ideas appreciated...nothing spicy please.

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  1. Cochinita pibil.
    Web up a recipe for the oven, and if you are worried about heat, then simply use less chile.

    I sure do love Carnitas though (and what's not to love - besides that fact that your arteries might close just if you look at it.)

    1. I have a great recipe for crock pot chili verde if you have access to tomatillos. Or, how about pulled pork... that's good made with a pork shoulder

      1. I prefer pork shoulder for chili verde...

        1. you can make pulled pork sandwiches with cole slaw and north or south carolina barbecue sauce on hamburger buns. very good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: malibumike

            I agree with BBQ pulled pork. I was gifted a crock pot the week before last and the first (and only, so far) thing I made in it was Carolina Pulled Pork. I made the cole slaw as well and served it on rolls, but why not toss it all into a tortilla? I made a rub for the pork and let it sit for twelve hours before cooking. It was delicious!

          2. Pernil al Horno is a great garlic-marinated roast pork dish. Very popular in Puerto Rico. Super easy to make. And oh, so sabroso!! Just make sure to let it slow roast until the meat is falling off the bone.

            There's a good recipe at http://www.whats4eats.com/meats/perni...

            1. Try the Neil Perry way - dicing the pork, rub a mix of ground coriander/fennel/cumin/cinnamon - Marinate for 20 mins. Cook it with, onion, garlic, a glug of port, orange zest, bay leaves, dried prunes and apricots and a cup of red wine wine and some veal or chicken stock - cook slowly. Not spicy but lovely and warming. Great with polenta.

              1. I made this braised pork shoulder the other night. didn't turn out exactly like I thought it would (I think I was supposed to skin the shoulder first?) but it's great with some blackened potatoes.


                1. Non-carnitas... I can't imagine.

                  1. Pernil with sour orange mojo
                    Stovetop lechon (my favorite treat)
                    Braised shoulder with apple cider pan gravy
                    Roast joint of pork with crackling
                    Slow-roasted shoulder with fennel
                    Chinese red-cooked pork

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: JungMann

                      do you guys have recipes for your pulled pork? I am thinking of doing this in my slow cooker for xmas eve.

                      1. re: cleopatra999

                        I've never tried pulled pork in a slow cooker. Normally I just rub the shoulder down with seasonings and slowly roast around 225 degrees. When it's fork tender, I let it cool, then shred with a fork and rehydrate with a combination of cider vinegar and hot sauce. Sandwiches get topped with a piece of crispy crackling.

                        1. re: cleopatra999

                          Here is a thread on slow cooker pulled pork


                          I have served this at a family Christmas Eve party and it was a big hit.

                      2. We wound up doing carnitas, lol.
                        Good lord are they yummy. I hope I can keep my sticky little fingers off them until company arrives!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: isadorasmama

                          Nobody would ever blame you for turning shoulder into carnitas!
                          YUM! Try to save some for eggs in the AM!

                        2. Next time try pernil--puerto rican roast pork. Take like a 4-6 lb skin on picnic pork shoulder and rub it with 4-6 cloves garlic, oregano, black pepper, olive oil, vinegar, and lots of salt all crushed together. Marinate up to 2 days. Roast in oven at 325 for 3-5 hrs covered tightly with aluminum foil. Raise to 375 and uncover until skin is crispy and brown. I'm currently cooking this along with pasteles and arroz con gandules for thanksgiving. Or DEFINITELY try cochinita pibil. Best pork ever!

                          1. Care to share your method of making fresh tortillas?

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: SocksManly

                              Do you have access to fresh masa? If you do, then you can pull off golf ball sized chunks and roll them into balls. Press them out to a 5 in circle in a tortilla press between a ziploc bag. Heat a comal over med to med high heat. Cook 30 sec first side, 30 sec second side. Flip back to 1st side and cook until puffs up. If it doesn't puff, press down gently on the tortillal. Tada tortillas!

                              1. re: SocksManly

                                If you can't find fresh masa; use the Masa Harina flour. You cannot use corn meal. It just won't work. and water to make a dough; then you can pat them out or roll them out, or use a tortilla press.

                                2 cups of Masa Harina to 1-1/4 to 1-1/3 cups of water. However, the difference between 1/4 cup and 1/3 cup, while only 4 teaspoons, can be critical.

                                The process is this:

                                1. Mix the Masa Harina and 1-1/4 cup water; knead to form the masa (dough)
                                2. Pinch off a golf-ball sized piece of masa and roll it into a ball
                                3. Set the masa on a piece of plastic in the tortilla press; cover with another piece of plastic
                                4. Press the masa.
                                No tortilla press? pat them out into a 6" circle or roll them out on a floured surface to 1/8" or thinner.
                                5. Put the tortilla on a hot, dry skillet
                                6. Cook for about 30 seconds on one side; flip
                                7. Cook for about 60 seconds (it should puff slightly); turn back to the first side
                                8. Cook for another 30 seconds on the first side
                                9. Remove and keep the tortilla warm

                                1. re: KiltedCook

                                  I start with less water - about a cup. Mix it with the masa harina, pinch off a ball and press it. The first time the edges will almost always crack. Add water a tablespoon at a time until the dough makes a nice disc with no cracking at the edges when it's pressed. Eventually you'll develop a feel for the dough and won't have to use trial and error.

                                2. re: SocksManly

                                  Although corn tortillas are the general rule in all but northernmost Mexico, you can get really good wheat flour tortillas in Michoacan, the home of carnitas. IMO there's a reason for that - really good tortillas de harina and really good carnitas have a certain affinity for one another...

                                  1 pound all-purpose flour
                                  3/4 cup lard
                                  1 tsp. salt
                                  1 tsp. hot tap water

                                  Dissolve the salt in the water. Put the flour and the lard into a food processor, pulse a few times, then process continually until the lard is completely incorporated. While the processor is still running, pour in most of the saltwater. Continue adding water in a fine stream until the dough just balls up on the blade.

                                  Divide the dough into sixteenths. Roll each piece into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for half an hour for the gluten to relax.

                                  Roll out the tortillas into 6" discs and cook on a very hot griddle for about 30 seconds per side. You should see some brown spots, but the tortilla should still be pliable; if it's crispy, it's been cooked too long.

                                  1. re: alanbarnes

                                    I don't bother making my own tortillas since my husband makes the most delicious ones I've ever tasted. I'm not sure his method but I do know he uses masa harina.
                                    We did want to try making our masa from scratch - anyone make it using flint corn?

                                    Even reheated the next day and dried out the carnitas were delish. You just can't go wrong with pork shoulder, lard, cumin and orange slices.

                                    kirinraj, the Puerto Rican roast pork sounds fantastic. We'll definitely make it and report back!

                                    1. re: isadorasmama

                                      It's easy enough to make masa from scratch, although I just buy it from a local tortilleria. In a big stainless pot, put a gallon of water over high heat. Add a heaping quarter cup of slaked lime (aka calcium hydroxide; "cal" in Spanish) and stir until it dissolves. Dump in your dried corn and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for two minutes, then cover and let stand overnight.

                                      The next day, thoroughly rinse the nixtamal (treated corn) in a big colander under running water while rubbing it between your hands to remove the hulls. Grind in a grain mill set to a fine setting (or, if you want to burn off those carnitas, grind by hand with metate y mano). Roll into balls, press, and cook as usual.

                                      Fresh masa only keeps for a couple of days in the fridge, but it freezes well. If you press it into tortillas before freezing, they thaw quickly and cook up in no time.

                                      1. re: alanbarnes

                                        Must be nice to have a local tortilleria. ;)
                                        So it's one cup, not one gallon? And you use flint corn, right?

                                        1. re: isadorasmama

                                          A gallon of water with a quarter cup of cal will treat several pounds of corn. You can reduce the quantities proportionately, but you need plenty of liquid to cover the corn for nixtamalization.

                                          As far as the corn goes, I just buy the packages labeled "Maiz Blanca." I think it's dent corn, but am not sure.

                                    2. re: alanbarnes

                                      Correction: that's one CUP of hot tap water.

                                  2. We use pork shoulder in pasta sauce. Cut into chunks. Brown it first in a little olive oil, par-cook, and let it cook the rest of the way in your homemade pasta sauce. The fat is an exceptional flavoring to the sauce. Pork shoulder is fantastic for it!

                                    1. Here's what I do for a good tortilla stuffing. It's pork shoulder/Raw picnic ham . Slow smoked for 6-8hrs. Lasts along time in the frig. Cut off what you want and roll it up.. Yum