This recipe for pork carnitas tacos has been making a regular appearance on our dinner table the past couple months. I love this recipe for many reasons, the top being it is incredibly simple to make. In fact, it is ridiculously easy to make.
I find it funny that friends who are not in the immediate and incredible world of food are weary to invite us to their home for a home cooked meal. There is nothing more wonderful than being nurtured by a home cooked meal no matter what it is. Don’t you agree? They have this image that we eat “fancy”, which is completely not the case, and that intimidates them. My recipes, as well as presentation, is pretty fuss free, and simple. I am definitely more into cooking pheasant style dishes opposed to a Modernist Cuisine approach of cooking. Don’t get me wrong, the former method is creative, but it is something I would rather enjoy at a restaurant.
So what does this have to do with a pork carnitas recipe? Well, everything, as I remade this recipe for a guest last weekend. This is the kind of recipe that is perfect for a no-fuss dinner party. Simply slip a well seasoned fatty, pork butt into a low heated oven and forget about it. After a few hours of slowly roasting the meat, what you are left with is an incredibly moist and OMG flavorful experience. As well the house smells as if you have been slaving over the stove all day!
The first time we ate really great carnitas was during a trip to Sayulita Mexico. It was from a little street taco vendor named Ivan. Ivan would set-up shop every evening, and by shop I mean a few plastic tables on the street, and he would be off to the side grilling meat and preparing the carnitas. We were running across the street for a six pack of icy cold Mexican beer. As we sat in the dusty street, enjoying a cold beer and feeling the last of the day time sun on our shoulders, Ivan would be piling carnitas on freshly made corn tortillas and topping them with pickled jalapeños, minced onions, cilantro and radishes. All that was left was a squeeze of fresh lime. Bliss.
This recipe for pork carnitas is as close as I can get besides actually going to Sayulita and begging Ivan for the recipe. The fatty pork is lightly sweetened by using condensed milk. The seasonings are simple, limes, onions, garlic and jalapeños. The rest is the magic of slowly braising and letting everything mingle together for three hours. The meat is flavorful and does not need anything else besides the minced white onions, cilantro and the squeeze of lime.
I served these pork carnitas with a big bowl of Frijoles de Olla – just pass the cold beers to make a complete feast!
Pork Carnitas Tacos
- 3 pounds fatty pork shoulder butt
- 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
- 2 cups water
- 1 yellow onion cut into quarters
- 2 limes cut into quarters
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
- 4 large garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 medium jalapeño, chopped
- kosher salt, to taste
- fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 300.
- Place all of the ingredients except for the salt and pepper into a large dutch oven. Cover with the lid.
- Slide into the oven and cook for 2 hours. Check on it half way through and flip the meat over.
- Turn down the heat of the oven to 275.
- Continue cooking for 1 hour.
- Remove from the oven and let sit for an hour.
- Remove the meat from the dutch oven and shred into strips of meat. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 425.
- Place the meat on a cookie sheet. Pour about 1/4 cup of the liquid over the meat and mix well with your hands. Scatter the meat evenly across the cookie sheet.
- Slide the pork into the oven, uncovered, and let it fry until browned, about 20 minutes.