Tag Archives: carnitas

Chipotle Pork Carnitas

Pork Carnitas TasteFood~ Chipotle Beer Braised Pork Carnitas ~

Carnitas are perfect weekend food. Festive and fun to eat, they are great for a casual party or a large family gathering. Begin the meat early in the day so that it will slow cook in the oven while you go about your daily business. As the meat breaks down, it will be infused by the beer and chipotle braising liquid until it’s falling apart tender at the bone. A little shredding and a final turn in the oven with the reduced sauce turns out smoky, spicy, caramelized pork, ready to pile on tortillas with salsa and guacamole. If you have any leftovers, the meat may be used in sandwiches or loaded on homemade nachos the next day.

Chipotle Beer Braised Pork Carnitas

Serves 8

2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (4 pound) bone-in pork shoulder
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 cup Mexican beer
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Warm flour or corn tortillas
Fresh cilantro
Sliced green onions

Heat oven to 300 F. Mix the cumin, paprika, sugar salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spices all over the meat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a dutch oven. Brown the pork on all sides. Remove the pork. Add onion, garlic, beer, orange juice, chipotles, lime juice and brown sugar to the dutch oven. Bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits, then reduce heat to a simmer. Return the pork to the pot. Cover and transfer to oven. Cook until pork is very tender, about 3 to 4 hours, turning every hour or so.

Remove pork from the braising liquid and transfer to a cutting board to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, shred the meat. Place the meat in a baking dish. Strain the braising sauce into a saucepan. Boil until reduced to a sauce consistency. Drizzle over the shredded pork. Transfer the pork to oven and broil until the meat begins to caramelize, 3 to 5 minutes.

To serve, spoon some of the pork in the center of a tortilla. Top with guacamole, salsa, fresh cilantro and scallions. Roll up and eat.

If you like this, you might enjoy these TasteFood recipes:
Shrimp, Corn and Black Bean Tostadas
Beer-Braised Chipotle Short Ribs with Jicama Slaw
Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Pork Carnitas Soft Tacos

Carnitas Taco

I discovered carnitas when we moved to the Bay area 3 years ago.  Before then, Mexican food was a rare treat, often misinterpreted and maligned in further flung cultures where we lived, where at best you could find skimpy versions of nachos or the ubiquitous fajita.  Now that we live in California, taquerias dot every neighborhood, burritos are the alternative to a burger and inspired Mexican cuisine plays a prominent role in our local restaurant scene.

I don’t prepare a lot of Mexican food at home, but I enjoy making Pork Carnitas.  Pork Carnitas are the perfect intersection of traditional home cooking and festive interactive food, great for families and casual parties. Braised pork is cooked until falling apart tender, then shredded and quickly roasted to get a crispy texture.  It’s then arranged on a fresh tortilla, and heaped with fresh tomato salsa, cool guacamole, spiced black beans and crispy lettuce.  It’s the best kind of finger food, requiring two hands and everyone participating in assembling their own food.  Napkins recommended.

Pork Carnitas Soft Tacos

During the season of fireside dinners and slow cooking, try serving these spicy, festive tacos for a little extra heat.

Serves 4-6

3 lbs. pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed, cut in 3″ pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
1 cup dark beer
1 cup orange juice
1 yellow onion, quartered
6 cloves garlic

Fresh flour or corn tortillas
Lime wedges

Preheat oven to 300 F. Pat pork dry and season with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in a deep pot or Dutch oven.  Add pork in batches and brown on all sides.  Transfer pork to plate or bowl.  Add beer to pot and deglaze, scraping up any dark bits. Add orange juice.  Return pork to pot.  Add onion and garlic.  Cover and transfer to oven.  Bake until meat is very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
Remove pot from oven and remove pork.  Discard onions and garlic.  Boil braising liquid until reduced by half.
While liquid is boiling, shred pork and discard any fat or gristle.  Toss shredded pork with a few tablespoons of reduced braising liquid. Arrange meat in one layer on a baking pan. Broil until meat begins to caramelize and crispen on the outsides. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, wrap tortillas in foil and warm in oven.  Arrange some of the pork on a tortilla.  Add garnishes such as salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, fresh lime juice.