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July 2009 Issue
Carnitas
by Philip R. Gantt
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Welcome to Seasoned Cooking and to Phil's International Flair!

Summer is upon us and the garden is growing well. Soon, I'll be harvesting corn, green beans and other vegetables. In addition, I'll be leaving for another trip to Alaska this summer. I'm looking forward to the 3 week trip and 4 days of guided salmon fishing with Mark Glassmaker. I'm hoping that we will bring back enough salmon to last the year.

About this month's recipe... Carnitas is basically a pork roast that is cooked and can be used to prepare pulled pork sandwiches, tacos, taquitos, enchiladas, or anything else you have a mind to use it for. The advantage of making carnitas is that you can cook it one evening and have meat prepared for meals all week long. Give this recipe a try and I think you will be pleased.

Now, on to the recipe! Be well, and good eating!

Although traditionally Mexican, carnitas has reached into the culinary traits of Texas and other regions of the southwest. Nearly every taco truck or Mexican restaurant will offer carnitas as a meat alternative in many of their dishes. So, here is how to make a basic carnitas.

 

Carnitas

  • 1 pork shoulder roast
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground red pepper.
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium heat. Add the spices and pork roast. If necessary, add more water to cover the roast. Boil covered for approximately 3 hours. Any bones should now be easily removed with tongs. If the bones to not come out easily, cook for an additional half hour. Once the meat is tender and the bones are removed, discard the liquid and allow the roast to cool for 20 minutes.

Once cooled, break the roast into large chunks and place the chunks in a baking pan. Remove any large pieces of fat. Preheat an over to 450 degrees and put the meat into the oven for 20 minutes. Most of the remaining fat will melt off from the meat and the chunks of roast should be a little bit crispy on the surface. Allow the meat to cool. Shread the meat with 2 forks before using.

I like to use carnitas for pork tacos. However, it's also an excellent meat for taquitos, enchiladas and other Mexican dishes. In addition, once the meat is shredded, you can heat it up with your favorite BBQ sauce for some pulled pork sandwiches. Or, you can heat up the shredded meat with sloppy joe sauce for a great variation of an old favorite. Having carnitas on hand will allow for a variety of easy meal preparations during the week.

  • Yields: 12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 4 hours
 



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