I don’t know of a better way to turn 3 pounds of pork shoulder into dinner. Or a dinner party. Carnitas can be simply rolled into a corn tortilla, or used as the basis for something more ambitious, like tamales or empanadas. The trick here is patience, especially when the liquid is almost boiled out and the meat begins to fry a bit in its own fat.
- 3 pounds pork shoulder, either butt or picnic
- 7 strips orange zest
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large onion, chopped, plus finely chopped onion for garnish
- 1 ¼ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cinnamon stick, preferably Mexican canela
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 ½ teaspoons crushed dried oregano leaves, preferably Mexican
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 24 small corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
- Chopped cilantro for garnish
- Salsa for garnish
- Nutritional Information
Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.
Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)
555 calories; 40 grams fat; 14 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 18 grams monounsaturated fat; 4 grams polyunsaturated fat; 4 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram dietary fiber; 1 gram sugars; 39 grams protein; 161 milligrams cholesterol; 730 milligrams sodium
6 to 8 servings
- Trim any thick fat from surface of pork. Cut meat into 1-inch cubes, discarding any that are pure fat. Put pork in a large pot. Add enough water to cover by 2 inches, orange zest, garlic, chopped onion, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, bay leaves, oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the cloves.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Skim off any scum that forms on surface. Simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours, until pork is very soft; add water if necessary to keep meat submerged. Season with salt, then continue to cook until water has evaporated, about 30 minutes. Cook a little longer to fry meat slightly; cook even longer if you prefer crisper meat. Stir often and add a bit of water if meat sticks or seems about to burn.
- Remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Spoon a few tablespoons of carnitas onto each tortilla. Top each taco with cilantro, finely chopped onion and salsa. Serve.
2 1/2 hours