Carnitas - original version
(Jans Note #1: I tried adding 1 tsp cumin the 2nd time I made this; try 1 Tbsp next time)
1 boned, tied pork shoulder or butt (4 to 5 lb.)
2 onions, peeled and quartered
4 stalks celery (including leaves), rinsed and cut into chunks
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 dried bay leaves
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
To be added later
2 tablespoons cumin
1/2 cup milk
(Jans Note #2: Steve Browning spiced it with 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin and 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning. After cooking, Butch added ground pepper. All combined, it had a little bite to it.)
(Jans Note #3: I found another recipe that uses the crockpot and about 12 ounces of beer. (I won't use the beer next time...leaves a taste I don't care for.) I tried it using about 3.5 pounds of meat and about 1/2 these other ingredients. I cooked it overnight about 12 hours in the crockpot on low. The meat was incredibly tender and easy to pull apart. There was less liquid to deal with and have to cook down. I pulled apart the meat and poured all of the liquid on it along with the milk and cumin, then put it in the oven to cook down.
Back to Jan's Recipes
Rinse pork and put in a 6 to 8-quart pan. Add onions, celery, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and enough water to cover meat--2 1/2 to 3 1/2 quarts.
Bring to a boil over high heat; cover, reduce heat, and simmer until meat is very tender when pierced, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. (Jans note: cook at least 2.5 hours). With slotted spoons, transfer pork to a 9- by 13-inch pan; reserve cooking juices. Discard string, and use 2 forks to pull meat into large chunks. Pour milk over meat.
Bake pork in a 325° oven until drippings are browned, about 1 hour, stirring and scraping pan occasionally. (Jans note: to get it crispy, it takes more like 2.5 hours)
Meanwhile, pour reserved juices through a strainer into a bowl; discard residue. Skim and discard fat. (Jans Note: if the cut of meat isnt fat enough, reserve some of the fat with juices). Return juices to pan. Boil over high heat until reduced to 2 cups, about 45 minutes.
When pork drippings are browned, add 1 cup of the reduced juices; scrape drippings free and stir meat, breaking into smaller pieces. Bake until juices have evaporated and drippings are browned, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Repeat step, using remaining juices, and cook until meat edges are crisp and browned, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt.
Makes 8 cups. Per 1/2 cup: 255 cal., 67% (171 cal.) from fat; 17 g protein; 19 g fat (6.9 g sat.); 3 g carbo (0.5 g fiber); 191 mg sodium; 71 mg chol.
The original recipe before Jan's alterations was found at www.cdkitchen.com
Recipe ID: 13102