Our boys just love tacos and we make them regularly, but we tend to make either fish or steak tacos. But the boys are both starting to enjoy pork, and that means we get to “graduate” to the best (IMHO) taco meat, Carnitas.
Carnitas are chunks of pork shoulder slowly simmered in their own fat. Crunchy on the outside, tender inside and joyously “porky”, Carnitas are perfect in tacos, burritos or on their own with a little rice. Traditionally, in the Michoacan region of Mexico, the pork is simmered in large copper pots full or pork fat. This is the best stuff. But we do not have the copper pot or that much pork fat (although our bacon fat supply is growing). Happily there is another method for making Carnitas that works just as well, and without the copious amounts of fat.
This method involves first simmering chunks of pork shoulder in water and then rendering out the pork fat. As the water evaporates, the pork starts to cook and get crispy in its own fat. This is a very easy way to make a super-tasty, flavorful dish. The only real requirement is time (about 3 hours) and some attention. As for ingredients, some recipes suggest just pork and water. Some other recipes include salt and still others either orange or lime juice. Having made many a low and slow pork recipe, we used salt and a touch of both the orange and lime juice to add color and a little flavor to the dish. But these are optional ingredients, really all you need is pork, water and salt. Continue reading