Sunday, February 27, 2011

Carnitas – Mexican Braised Pulled Pork Recipe

Carnitas is my husband’s all time favorite meal at our local Mexican restaurant.  I have tried a few different recipes, while all have been good, he still thinks the restaurant's version is better.  I am on track to master his favorite, so look for other Carnitas recipes in future posts. 
Currently , this is my favorite carnitas recipe. 
It tastes great and I get a lot of mileage from the minimum effort that I need to put into this meal.   It is a great recipe for a Saturday dinner or cook ahead weekday meals.   It can feed a crowd , makes for great leftovers, and the cooking broth can be turned into Carnitas Soup.  My next post! 

Recipe for: Carnitas

Serves: 8-12


4 -5 pounds boston butt ( or pork shoulder) - remove as much fat as possible, slice horizontally to butterfly and score meat  1 inch deep in 1 inch diamond pattern all over
2 cups beef broth
1 beef bouillon cube dissolved in hot water
2 cups chunky tomato salsa
½ tsp red pepper flakes in ½ cup cider vinegar, mix well let stand for few minutes and add in ¼ cup ketchup    ( or use ¾ cup of Lexington Vinegar Barbecue Sauce from the bitten word )
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 cups fresh tomato salsa (pico de gallo)
16-24 corn tortillas or 8-10 flour tortillas


Preheat oven to 350 F.  In a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine pork, broth, and salsa. Add enough water to completely cover the meat.   Cover and bring to a boil.  Place the covered pot into the oven for 3-4 hour until meat pulls apart easily.  Add salt to taste if needed. Note:  you can also cook on low on stovetop for 3 to 4 hours.
Remove meat from pot to cutting board and shred /break into small chunks.  Skim fat off stock and refrigerate to use for Carnitas Soup (Recipe coming soon)
Turn oven to 400°F.  Spread the meat out in a tinfoil lined (spray with oil). Roast meat for 15 to 20 minutes until brown and crispy.
Heat the tortillas in a microwave or one-by-one on a hot skillet until they soften and brown/bubble on each side. To heat them in a microwave, Microwave on high heat for 10 seconds per tortilla.  Corn tortillas take longer to heat than flour.
To serve, place a few spoonfuls of the carnitas on tortillas. Top with salsa. Serve with grated lettuce (that has been lightly salted and sprinkled with vinegar), beans, avocados, and/or grated cheese with a side of rice and refried bean.
If planning for leftovers, brown only as much meat as you to use.  Store the remaining meat in a container along with small amount of cooking liquid.

You might also like the recipes below:
Elise Bauer’s Carnitas from Simply Recipes
David Lebovitz's Carnitas Recipe

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