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Pork carnitas

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I went to Chipotle recently and had some very nice carnitas.  I'd like to recreate it at home and perhaps even have a taco party.  Any good recipes for pork carnitas and all the trimmings?

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post #2 of 29

I usually start with a pork butt, either bone in or out, score it a bit and then make a rub consisting of salt, peppercorn, cumin, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, red chile flake and chile powder. rub the pork with oil then, pour powder rub over it and work it all over and into it a bit. gently pour a cup or two of orange juice alongside the pork so it doesn't disturb the seasoning then fill to just covering the pork with water (hopefully leave a few inches from the lid, the pork will render a bit of fat). either do this in a crock pot on low overnight or in an oven at 200-220 F in a covered roasting pan. (last time I did it at home I used my 8 quart stock pot with aluminum foil over the top in the oven) tastes good, is moist and will shred with a spoon.

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post #3 of 29

I cube up the pork butt, toss it with a good amount of salt, smashed garlic cloves, bay leaves, and some all spice berries. I think I get better results letting that sit in the fridge overnight before cooking it.

 

I often end up cooking it on the stove top, but the extra stirring one has to do tends to break it up.

 

I also add some vegetable oil or lard to help it along.

 

Some people add milk or beer. Never tried either.

post #4 of 29

Whole pork butt, cut into approx 8 equal pieces, rubbed with kosher salt, pepper, granulated onion.

drop into a pot of lard, bring up to a simmer. When its just about done, squeeze in the juice from one orange and a half can of coke, turn the heat up, the meat will brown up a bit, now it's ready to eat with some fresh tortilllas & green salsa.

post #5 of 29

My approach:

 

http://wasatchfoodies.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=9
 

No matter the details, I think that some sort of citrus should be involved.

 

mjb.

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post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 

I was definitely going to go with whole pork butt, I'm going with Gunnar's list of spices.  Never thought of adding citrus but I guess I will!

 

My idea of sides and toppings is limited, what can I add here?  I was thinking sour cream, queso fresco, guacamole, salsa, I also want some kind of rice and beans.

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post #7 of 29

kk, 

here's a few cents worth for you....

i use lime juice in the pork(not much just a tbl or so)....think of it as the new salt....sometimes i use achiote paste too. for what to serve the carnitas with...i like some sort of rice of which there are many many to choose from....cilantro-lime with roasted corn, or with roasted poblanos and corn or mexican squash(zucchini), different salsas...salsa verde(tomatillo), a roasted red salsa or a tomato-serrano...you can't have too many different salsas in my opinion. corn tortillas, if you can find blue corn ones it's all for the better. pickled red onions which take 10 minutes to make. some kind of beans, again which there are many types and styles....i like black beans either entero(whole) or refrito. queso fresco for the beans and the carnitas. along with the pickled red onions i like sliced radishes and cucumbers. a bowl of lime wedges. i also make pickled sweet/hot jalapenos. crema mexicana and some sort of avacado condiment...either diced maybe with tomatoes or as a sauce thinned with salsa verde or crema or both...  this is such fun food for a party. oh, and although it's not true to carnitas, i sometimes put potatoes (little yukon golds) on the bottom of the cooking pan and then the seasoned pork on top.....why not? dessert...i know you're not asking but i'm on a roll...key lime pie or frozen strawberry margarita pie or mexican wedding cookies with some mango sorbet or something wonderfully sinfully chocolate with mexican chocolate and vanilla, like a chocolate kahlua flan or the rich luscious mexican dessert dulce de leche(tres leches), or.........anyway, hope some or any of this helps...

joey

well, after all this talking about this, i am now craving mexican, so tonight...ole!

btw..happy mother's day!


Edited by durangojo - 5/11/12 at 2:42pm

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks Joey!  Although I'm not a fan of pickled stuff I think I will make those pickled onions you suggested, others will love them.  Strawberry margharita pie?  Do tell!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #9 of 29

kk, 

the onions aren't really pickled in the way you might think....at any rate, i would call it a very light pickle....more to take the raw taste out of the onions. they are always found on the tables in mexico alongside the salsas and lime wedges, and are served with everything!...here's my simple version...you can also change up the spices if you like by subbing cloves and allspice for the black pepper and cumin seeds. these onions will last a couple of weeks if refreigerated, but you'll probably go through them all before that...they are great on sandwiches and heuvos rancheros!

 

red onion, peeled and sliced into 1/2 rounds, 1/8" thick

1/4 tsp each cracked black pepper and cumin seeds(slightly crushed)

1/2 tsp oregano, mexican if you have it

2 garlic cloves peeled and either sliced or halved

1/4 tsp kosher salt1/3 c. cider vinegar

blanch onions for 1 minute, drain...add remaining ingredients plus enough water to barely cover onions.... stir well and let stand for several hours til inions turn bright pink. transfer to container(glass if you have it) and refrigerate....

joey

 

will send along the margarita pie recipe in a bit


Edited by durangojo - 5/12/12 at 11:15am

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #10 of 29

That pickled onion recipe sounds good and just prepared some as a trial.

I've just seen that I forgot to put the oregano in it :(

Could you use fresh oregano or marjoram?

 

And that pink colour of the onions is amazingly bright...

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post #11 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thanks Joey, sounds easy as pie.

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post #12 of 29

I use a Pork Shoulder because it is cheaper I cook it a few hours depending on weight  at 300--- 325.  Either with or without bone. I use basicly same spices as Gunnar but with additionof Tomato Powder,Smoked Paprika, oregano  and powdered citric acid and rub it in . When almost done I put in about 2_3 cups chicken stock and let it cook a bit more.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #13 of 29

butzy,

you don't have to add any spices if you don't want...i've had it many different ways in mexico, using many different spices. one super easy breezy way is to just pour very boiling water over the sliced red onions for about 10 minutes..i add equal amounts of vinegar and sugar and a pinch of salt to kind of get the pickling thing going on......

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #14 of 29

Pork shoulder bone in, indirect grill low and slow.  I agree with Gunnar and EdB's spice rubs and I would possible add achiote.  Instead of orange juice or lime I recommend Naranja Agria (Bitter Orange)  Goya brand is pretty popular, but any brand will do. Should be in most supermarkets.  Use as mop while bbqing and have some water or beer in drip pan under shoulder.  Then rest and shred. 

 

Toss some lime juice in your rice water and add cilantro when done to mimic Chipotle's lime-rice.  I know people love it, but I am actually not a huge fan.  I prefer a garlic rice made in chicken broth.

 

To the people in the beginning of the post saying butt, did you mean the actual pig butt or shoulder as in Boston Butt as well?

post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 

Just to clarify, a pork butt refers to the pork shoulder.  There is no question we are all speaking of the same part of the animal, no other cut would do in this application.

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post #16 of 29

I like the addition of achiote paste to a carnitas recipe.  I'm from Ecuador and we use achiote oil in lots of our dishes.  I might rub the whole butt down with achiote oil before applying a generous coating of carnitas spices next time - yum!

 

As a point of clarification, I'm interested to hear whether (and if so, how) those of you who include citrus - naranja agria in particular - differentiate this recipe from a recipe for a more cuban style mojo pork butt.  That is, I personally associate carnitas with a drier (the preparation, not the end product which is wonderfully sticky and moist), spice driven flavor profile heavy on cumin, paprika, chili powder, cayenne and ancho powders, etc.  Once you start working in oregano and naranja agria it seems to turn the corner into mojoville.

 

So, if your carnitas recipe includes citrus juice, oregano, and other traditional mojo components, pray tell what does your mojo recipe look like?  I'm always quite interested to learn about regional and personal variations on pork butt preparations since, after all, it is the most glorious cut of meat out there! 

post #17 of 29

Butts()is also known as  A  Boston Butt  , Shoulder Blade Roast and I have heard other names but can't remember them.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #18 of 29

Other names  for  Boston Butt are  Pork Hand , Pork Picnic Roast , Pork Arm Shoulder Roast , Pork Picnic Shoulder , Picnic Shoulder Ham  and Picnic Pork Roast. Some stores might add " bone-in "or " boneless " to the above names.

There might be a few more names I am not aware of .

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post #19 of 29

Boston Butt or shoulder blade is the top of the front shoulder. Picnic "ham" or picnic shoulder is the lower portion of the front shoulder and a different cut from Boston Butt that contains more fat and is usually less $$ per pound.

 

Dave

 

                                      Blade-and-Picnic-pork.jpg

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post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

Thanks Joey!  Although I'm not a fan of pickled stuff I think I will make those pickled onions you suggested, others will love them.  Strawberry margharita pie?  Do tell!

easy as pie pie aka 'frozen strawberry margarita pie'

 

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1/4 c. fresh lime juice(or joe & nellies) + zest from 2 limes

3 tbl tequila

3 tbl triple sec or cointreau

1/2 c. frozen strawberries, in syrup very slightly smooshed or pulsed in fp...i use sliced

1 pint heavy whipping cream, whipped

1 10" prepared graham cracker crust

 

beat or whisk milk, lime juice, zest, tequila and triple sec til smooth. mix in strawberries w/syrup. fold in whipped cream. pour into pie crust. garnish w/ more grated lime zest and freeze. 

you can also use a 9" springform pan.  only put the graham cracker crumbs on the bottom if you go that route, and run a hot knife around it before you loosen the collar.

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 

Thank you!  Very easy.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #22 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayCobb1045 View Post

I like the addition of achiote paste to a carnitas recipe.  I'm from Ecuador and we use achiote oil in lots of our dishes.  I might rub the whole butt down with achiote oil before applying a generous coating of carnitas spices next time - yum!

 

As a point of clarification, I'm interested to hear whether (and if so, how) those of you who include citrus - naranja agria in particular - differentiate this recipe from a recipe for a more cuban style mojo pork butt.  That is, I personally associate carnitas with a drier (the preparation, not the end product which is wonderfully sticky and moist), spice driven flavor profile heavy on cumin, paprika, chili powder, cayenne and ancho powders, etc.  Once you start working in oregano and naranja agria it seems to turn the corner into mojoville.

 

So, if your carnitas recipe includes citrus juice, oregano, and other traditional mojo components, pray tell what does your mojo recipe look like?  I'm always quite interested to learn about regional and personal variations on pork butt preparations since, after all, it is the most glorious cut of meat out there! 


Yes It does cross into mojoville, but I find resulting flavor allows me to throw authenticity out the window.  I do a dry rub of kosher salt, black pepper, cumin, cayenne, granulated garlic, onion powder, smoked paprika, and corriander.  Coat with achiote oil and let sit overnight.  I use to use a mop of modello dark, lime juice, and adobo sauce, but I experimented once with the naranja agria and can not go back to the old way.  It's just that good :)  (all of the people I've served this too don't seem to mind either)  

 

So in a nutshell, it's a standard carnitas rub with a mojo mop (Cubexican)

post #23 of 29

kk,

forgot to mention that if you use a springform pan, once you pull it from the freezer and out of the collar before serving, you can smooth down the top and sides once it softens, then refreeze it as is(uncovered)...pull out about 20-30 minutes before you want to serve it

@jaycobb,

i just squeeze a couple of limes over the seasoned pork cubes after i put in the water. i make this in a slow cooker and i do add garlic and enough water to the achiote powder to make a paste

joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #24 of 29
I don't know about "drier" preps. Part of typical Mexican prep is poaching the pork in lard (like confit, sort of) before re-seasoning it and finishing it in an oven. I distinguish carnitas from other pork preparations which are meant to be served shredded. Of course that's language more than food, and as such is open to definition; so take it FWIW.

BDL
post #25 of 29

    I cube, then simmer in lard until tender.  Then remove, let set and cool.  Get the oil temp ready for deep fry and drop the chunks into the hot oil for only seconds, to crisp up.  Then squash into luscious smashed pork shreds.  To me, the flavors of carnitas are about the big pork flavor.  I add just salt, sometimes a touch of orange.  Oh yeah, I leave the fat on the shoulder as well...for this...all of it.

 

Dan

post #26 of 29

Shoulder being not the tenderest cut should be cooked slowly and diced or minced or pulled , or sliced like paper. for good eating.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefedb View Post

Shoulder being not the tenderest cut should be cooked slowly and diced or minced or pulled , or sliced like paper. for good eating.

 

There are other methods which will give you great results as well. I often roast a shoulder with lemons, sage, onions and honey, and serve it in normal-thickness (about 3/4") slices: http://www.cheftalk.com/t/67835/elegant-pork-butt-dinner#post_366656

 

Shoulder is also very good and surprisingly tender when trimmed off its fat and diced or sliced finely, skewered and grilled for a few mn over high heat. I like to marinate it with bay leaves, cumin, garlic, black pepper and smoked paprika. Serve with fleur de sel and lemon wedges. 

post #28 of 29

bdl,

it's interesteng that you have pointed out the 'language' of a dish....i have eaten lots of things under the name of carnitas, even in mexico!....carne asada which is thin meat grilled and used in soft tacos, carne adovada which is more a chunky red chile stew or filling for burritos, and carnitas both shredded and pulled and used in tacos...when i see carnitas packaged for sale in the grocery store, it is pieces of thinly sliced seasoned meat more in line with an asada than pulled  or shredded carnitas. not sure where fajitas fit in all that mix...also more like asada but not always grilled. gets confusing actually. i like my carnitas in big pulls rather than finely shredded. i have made carnitas using pork shoulder, searing it and slow cooking in a crock pot, then 'pull' it through with 2 forks, but lately i cube( large chunk) the pork, season it(achiote-paste), sear it off before putting  in a slow cooker with a bit of water and lime juice for 6 hours or so....when done i do a cross between a smoosh and a shred.....lots of salsas and sides ....ok, now where's my negro modelo?

joey


Edited by durangojo - 5/18/12 at 8:00am

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

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post #29 of 29
Quote:
Shoulder being not the tenderest cut should be cooked slowly and diced or minced or pulled , or sliced like paper. for good eating.
Ed you must go to Mexico. They have so much to learn.

BDL
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