Dreamy's Delights

It's all about the food!


on July 19, 2012

The standard by which I judge all taquerias and mexican restaurants is the quality of their carnitas. Carnitas fatty pork such as pork butt or shoulder that has been slow simmered in water, OJ and a bit of sweetened condensed milk. When it’s tender, the temperature is raised and the water is boiled off, leaving the pork to fry in its own fat. This creates an amazingly tender piece of meat with a slightly sweet/savory caramelized crust. There is no better form of pork in the WORLD!! (Ok, it’s my opinion but I have awesome opinions lol)

So the basic idea is to get a fatty piece of pork. Today it’s about 4lbs of pork shoulder butt.


4 lbs pork shoulder butt (or other fatty cut)

2 cups water

1-2 cups OJ

1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

1/2 T salt

1 t ground cumin

ground black pepper to taste

Cut the pork into 2″ pieces. Put in a pot with water, OJ, milk and seasonings. (Basically you want enough liquid to barely cover the pork. Add more water or OJ as needed.)

Put heat on medium-low. Cover and let simmer until you remember to check on it. (Today that was about an hour and half.) If the meat has reached a good simmer, remove the lid. This is a good point to taste the liquid. Make sure it’s not to sweet but still has a noticeable sweetness. You can also add salt and cumin if you need it. Keep simmering until the meat is tender but not falling apart. (You can tell it’s at the right point if you press a piece against the side of the pot and the meat fibers start to separate.) Turn heat to medium-high and start boiling off the water. Try not to stir the meat until it’s almost out of water. The reason for this is that you don’t want to break up the chunks of meat into little pieces and shreds. Once the water is almost gone you can give a gentle stir to make sure it’s not sticking.

You should at this point have rather a lot of liquid fat in the bottom of the pan. You WANT there to be lots of fat. This process won’t work with lean pork. If it looks like there’s not about a half inch of fat in the bottom, add some lard or bacon fat until there is.

You are now going to fry the pork in the fat left in the pan. You want a nice dark caramelization on the outside of the meat. So you’ll need to stir it but don’t get crazy about it.

Once it’s all yummy, it’s ready to serve. You can serve it with the usual sides… rice, beans, cheese, tortillas, diced onions, guacamole, salsa etc… or you can keep it simple. I like mine with guacamole and sour cream.

I also make my guacamole from scratch. I’m saving that recipe for another day 😉



3 responses to “Carnitas

  1. Tane Marie McKee, DVM says:

    My mouth is watering………….I make a mean gaucamole as well. The downfall is that I think I have recently developed a food allergy to avacados. This is a real bummer, but that last few times I have had them, I itch, tingle, and my mouth whole oral-pharyngeal area just feels odd. I hope this is not a forever thing. {TMI???? Sorry}

  2. Tane Marie McKee, DVM says:

    Peeps……Why am I the only one who is making comments on this bog???? Come on lame brains. Respond!!!!!! Also, I am still awaiting to be enlightend to what a noob is……. Please save my curiosity………TMM [overworked and right now underpaid veterinarian]

    • A noob is a gamer term refer to someone who is not only new at something but painfully new at something lol. It’s also a reference to “newbie”. It a game it can be used in a scathing way, I only ever mean it in a goofy way, if that makes sense.

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