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Tips For Creating Traditional Pork Carnitas

When it comes to providing authentic cuisine, many local Mexican restaurants alter their recipes to match American flavor preferences. If you’re looking for classic flavors, one dish you should ask your favorite Mexican restaurant to serve is pork carnitas. Often served on a tortilla and topped with onion, salsa, cilantro and guacamole, traditionally-made carnitas are a significant departure from many of the simplified versions. If you want a chance to sample the traditional product, here’s a look at how you make it.

Gathering Ingredients

  • 6-10 pounds of pork picnic or shoulder roast, well marbled
  • Enough lard to melt and completely cover the roast in the pot
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, minced
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

Preparing the Dish

Start with a heavy Dutch oven, cast iron pot or copper-bottomed pot. Melt the lard so that it is liquified and warm throughout. While the lard is melting, cut the pork in four or five sections. Season the sections with salt.

Put the pork pieces into the melted lard. Add the rest of the seasonings. The lard will absorb the seasonings, and as that lard penetrates the meat, it will also impart that flavor. The key to flavorful and moist carnitas is not rushing the process.

Heat the lard so that it simmers lightly, cooking the meat for 2-3 hours, or until it starts to fall apart. When it starts to fall apart, turn the heat up so that you essentially fry the pieces of meat to create crispy outsides. The goal here is to break up, or shred, the meat so that you create crispy outer edges around all of the meat. All of the crispiness on the meat adds texture to the dish.

Serving the Carnitas

Once the meat is crispy on the outside, drain it from the cooking fat. You can even place it on paper towels to drain more completely. Then, serve it on warm or toasted flour tortillas. Top it with fresh salsa, homemade guacamole, cilantro and even some fresh lime wedges. The acidity of the lime juice helps to highlight the seasonings in the meat.

If you’re not confident in your skills to produce the recipe or you don’t have a heavy-bottomed pot, you should check with your local Mexican restaurant about producing a truly authentic carnitas dish. You can also check out a related site for more recipes.