Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Authentic Carnitas - cooked in lard

I know I have featured Carnitas before but I wanted to make sure that I include  this version from The Paupered Chef.  Carnitas are described as chunks of pork shoulder that have been slowly cooked until golden brown, slightly crispy, and very tender. Cooking them in lard is the secret in this recipe.


  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice 
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • 2 pounds lard 
  • 2 dozen corn tortillas
  • salt
  1. Slice the pork into 3 inch slabs.  It's important that they all end up roughly the same size, so they cook in the same amount of time.  
  2. Toss the pork into a large bowl and then add the lime juice and salt.  Stir the pieces until well coated.  Cover the bowl and set aside for an hour.  Toss the pieces twice over the course of the hour. 
  3. Meanwhile, melt the lard in a large pot over medium heat.  
  4. When the hour is up, carefully add the pork to the pot.  The lard should cover the pieces.  After a few minutes, very large and lazy bubbles will pop to the surface.  This is good.  You don't want to have aggressive frying.  Let cook on medium, flipping the pieces occasionally for even cooking, for about 2 hours.  The meat should be very tender when pierced with a fork.  It took us an extra 15 minutes. 
  5. Raise the temperature to medium-high.  The lard will start bubbling furiously and make a lot more noise.  Cook for 30 minutes. They should come out all nicely browned and golden. 
  6. Set them on a cutting board and let sit for 10 minutes or so. 
  7. Meanwhile, fill the bottom of another pot with about a 1/2 inch of water and bring to a boil.  Wrap the tortillas in a towel and set in a steamer basket atop the boiling water.  Cover the pot.
  8. Cook for 1 minute.  Then turn off the heat and let sit for 15 minutes or so. 
  9. On to the pork.  There is no wrong way to go about this.  You can slice off a bit with a sharp knife. Or pull the meat apart with a fork. You can even use your hands if you're into it.
  10. Roll up a little meat in a taco, sprinkle on some salt, and top with whatever salsa you like the most.  (Johannes prefers Pico de Gallo -recipe in the next blog.)  Keep it simple, though.     

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