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snowangel

Carnitas

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Once you get the meat to the temp of the pot/oven, then it doesn't matter how big the chunks are; it's about time at that temp. The trick is to pull the meat out of the braise before it's done to the degree it would be in a dish that wouldn't have a second cooking. It's like making a daube or chili that you plan to chill and serve the next day: since you're reheating it you want to undercook the meat a bit.

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I made a big Mexican meal on Saturday night. Wanted to thank Jaymes for the carnitas recipe, which I made using orange juice and dried chipotles I brought from Mexico - they were absoltely amazing. I loved the combination of the deep, smoky flavor combined with the sweetness of the oj and brown sugar. They tasted like little bits of pork candy, delicious. I also made his tongue recipe, some tinga poblana and grilled chicken, pico de gallo, refried beans and a smoked tomato salsa with chile pasilla and chile de agua I learned to make in Oaxaca. I did make the tortillas myself (it is hard to get them in Argentina), the pictorial on making tortillas helped me out, although it is extremely time consuming to make tortillas for 15 people. But all in all it was a fantastic meal, thanks for the wonderful recipes!

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I'd like to try my hand at homemade carnitas again after a long time of not making them. I plan to do it Monday while I'm off work, so I will have plenty of time to fiddle with it. What's your favorite method / recipe? In the past I've tried various approaches I've found online. My husband is pickier about the outcome than I am. His biggest complaint is that they often end up too "wet". I've tried Smitten Kitchen's riff on Homesick Texan. I've tried Homesick Texan's riff on Diana Kennedy ( this was my favorite ). I've read about using Coca Cola, insisting on orange juice, using only water.  How do I get big, tender chunks with caramelized and browned ends?

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@pistolabella

 

 ""  they often end up too "wet"  ":"

 

when ' done ' they should be wet.  these are mostly simmered , then  the key is

 

after coarsely shredding , they are sautéed in a hot pan to get some bits crispy.

 

that's how Ive seen them done in various fantastic Taqueria's.   

 

also , leave all the fat in for the sauté.

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There are a couple of threads with excellent advice about Carnitas here on eG.  

I highly recommend the "recipe" by Jaymes  on page one of the original Carnitas thread.

 

I posted about a batch of carnitas I made with wild boar meat a few pages later in the thread.  

There are other recipes, techniques, methods, etc., including pressure cooker carnitas, later on in the thread.

 

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This is a photo of the wild boar carnitas.  That is a full-size sheet pan.  The meat is from a hind leg - what would be a ham and shank. It was a very large boar.

Screen Shot 2016-12-24 at 2.28.58 PM.png

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The boar looks amazing. I guess to clarify when I say "wet" I mean we've ended up with some meat just swimming in liquid, which is not how I'm used to eating them at taquerias. I will check out the other thread - thanks! It didn't show up when I did a search. 

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I only made  carnitas  once using lard, beer, oranges & evaporated milk. It worked great.

The  liquids kept the temp of the lard low. After the liquids evaporated the pork was done, they temp went up and the  carnitas was crispy

 

Here is the recipe I followed. I need to make this  again ... soon.

Traditional Old-School Carnitas are the BEST

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I initially cooked the boar meat - off the bone - in my largest old electric roaster (26 quart) water to cover with a couple of large onions cut into quarters, handful of garlic cloves, bay leaves, cumin, whole ancho peppers, 

quart of beer.

I turned it on and let it cook until the water was mostly gone and only the fat that rendered out of the meat remained.

I began shifting the chunks of meat so that which was on top was down in the fat.  I checked the temp in the larger chunks to make sure it had reached over 140°F.

I then transferred the meat to the sheet pan and into the oven at 250 for 3 hours.  And this was the way it came out. Tender but with a nice crust.

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*bump* 

 

Without having worked my way through this entire topic, I'd say I have a qualified success to report. Qualified, mind you: flavors could stand adjusting next time, but there will be a next time.

 

I started with 2 pounds of a pork shoulder roast - a nice, fatty-looking porky shoulder with a Duroc Heritage Pork label, which may or may not have made a difference. I more or less followed @Jaymes' instructions here, along with the discussion that followed about stirring from time to time and not throwing away the peppers, onions, and (in this case) celery. It was looking pretty good. But it was also getting late, and the meat was quite tender already, and I was none too sure about dirtying up a sheet pan to spread this stuff out in the oven and brown it. I left the whole shebang in the Le Creuset Dutch Oven in which it had started, kept cooking it down to brown and caramelize until I flirted briefly with burning stuff on the bottom (but managed to rescue it all), and then turned off the heat. Here's a collage of the process.

 

20180508_211249.jpg

 

In the meantime, I tried my first-ever pot-in-pot batch of rice in the Instant Pot. 1c basmati, 1.5c chicken broth and water, 6 minutes on high, natural release for 12 minutes. Success on the rice!

 

20180508_211349.jpg

 

Results: I think the method of simmering the pork until it's done, then crisping and caramelizing it, is probably genius. I got as far as simmering until the liquid was boiled off. The texture of the meat was excellent. The flavors left something to be desired. I didn't measure as carefully as I might have, and as much as I love citrus I think I'd have done better with more tequila and less lime. There were also chicken broth and a touch of apple juice in there, but I couldn't taste either. We both grabbed for the salsa to adjust the sweetness. We both wished for more liquid with the rice.

 

Next time, I'll keep the meat and the vegetables separate and try to crisp the meat. I'll also be more careful with the citrus flavor. I may even plan to put it all into tortillas. That actually had been the plan tonight, but in the end the bowls seemed easier.

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