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How to Make Confit Style Mexican Pork Carnitas. An Easy Carnitas Recipe, Tips and Tricks.
A pic worth a thousand words...
Fatty pork fried for hours in pork fat…Mexican pork carnitas are the best food in the world – ever.
While perhaps not on your cardiologist's heart-smart menu plan, an occasional supper of Mexican pork carnitas will always hit the spot and will never fail to please even the most particular of eaters.
And they're dead easy to make. As long as you don’t let the heat creep too high, you cannot go wrong and you will create a top-chef quality meal.
Mexican cooking is a pretty regionalized thing, and so I wouldn’t say that this technique is the definitive methodology to pork carnitas. I would say that it is the method I have had the best results with and it is a method that is pretty close to effortless.
Try your very best to procure good quality rendered lard (Or better yet, make your own lard…it has half the cholesterol of butter!). Supermarket lard tends to be hydrogenated and flavorless nonsense. You want the real creamy white stuff, and you'll find it in most any Latin grocery store.
This is nowhere near a fusion dish, but interestingly enough, the techniques towards Mexican pork carnitas and French pork or duck confit, are very similar.
There are no quantities listed here – things are not that complicated in carnita land…
- Pork butt, pork shoulder or pork neck, cut into 2 inch cubes
- Salt and pepper
- A hint oregano, salt and pepper
Easy steps to Pork Carnitas...
- Cube the pork into cubes and rub generously with salt, freshly ground black pepper and dried oregano. If you have time (and forethought) put the seasoned meat into the fridge overnight to rest – or just proceed immediately.
- Put the pork into a pot, and add enough melted lard to cover the pork cubes completely.
- Raise the heat to a low-medium-low and let it simmer. Don’t get too worried about the temperature, but what you want is a gentle and occasional bubbling, not even as high as a simmer.
- Let the pork cook for 2-4 hours. It is done when it is almost falling apart, but still retains its shape.
- Take the pork out of the lard, and cut it into ½ inch cubes (you can just use a fork to "cut" it, as it will be very tender)
- In a skillet, heat a few Tbls of lard over medium, and add the smaller pork cubs in batches, cooking them just long enough to brown all the outsides well.
- At best, a carnita has a browned and crusty exterior and a meltingly tender interior – this technique delivers.
- Drain the carnita chunks well and serve with warm corn tortillas with all the usual garnishes, salsas and condiments, or in any other Mexican dish.
That's all there is to it – you're very own south of the border carnita confit. Beware though, make these for friends and family juts once and know you'll face regular begging and pleading for another round!
Slow-Cooked Carnitas Tacos Recipe
Find delicious pork rib recipes, like slow-cooked carnitas tacos, and other Mexican recipes at Epicurious.com