Thursday, October 23, 2014

Recipe: Berkshire Pork Carnitas

Carnitas are a Mexican staple of the taqueria. Traditionally carnitas is a pork shoulder which is simmered in lard until it falls apart with the merest mention of a fork.

That's the traditional method; I don't actually simmer the shoulder in lard. Just somehow doesn't seem... healthy. Instead I braise it in a mixture of apple cider, red wine, cinnamon and water. 

I took a similar path to browning as I did for the beef shortribs. I grilled them.

This time there was a substantial rub!


Berkshire Pork Carnitas cut into slabs from The Conscious Carnivore
2 Cups red wine
1 Cup apple cider
5 Cups water
1 2" cinnamon stick
4 cloves of diced garlic

For the spice rub:
2T Whole cumin seeds toasted and ground
3T Garlic salt
2T Dried ancho powder
2T Chili powder
2T Paprika 

I rub the pork 24-48 hours prior to cooking. The charcoal is lit and piled entirely on one side of the grill. The pork shoulder is browned and charred. 

After the outside of the pork gets a nice char I move it to the side of the grill away from heat and cover. I let the meat sit, covered, on the cool side for 30 minutes to pick up more smoky notes. Then I transfer it to a roasting pan and half cover it with wine, apple cider, the cinnamon and the garlic. I put it into a 300 degree oven for 3-4 hours until the bone pulls out of the meat easily and cleanly. 

I use two forks to shred the meat. All of the left over braising liquid is put into a sauce pan, the fat is skimmed off the top and it's reduced down until it thickens slightly. The reduced liquid is tossed with the pork carnitas as a glaze and the pork is returned to the oven under the broiler to get a little crispy. 


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