Tag Archives: authentic

carnitas

8 Aug

Here I go again posting another traditional, iconic recipe. It’s a little nerve-wracking because with recipes like these, opinions run strong, traditions muster up emotions and memories, and you can look like a fool for trying. But I’m pretty obsessed with authentic, uninterpreted ethnic cuisine. I’m so utterly bored with fusion cuisine, modern interpretations of traditional dishes, and recipes simplified for the home cook. I want the real, time-honored recipe. Even if it takes me all day to cook it, that’s what I want to eat. It’s why I have been eyeing making a proper mole for like 5 years, but have yet to make it (yellow mole aside, which I have made and is much simpler by nature). And it’s why I spent a whole week sourcing and rendering enough lard to make carnitas. I’ve made slow-roasted pork before, and it’s wonderful. But it’s not carnitas and I’m not going to call it such. And don’t get me wrong, I’m a-okay with simple recipes. It’s the bulk of what I make. And on a weeknight I’ll make simple versions of complex recipes. They’re weeknight meals. I just want to eat. But I get exceedingly excited about recipes like carnitas, that are slow-cooked in a vat of lard with a host of spices and aromatics and have been perfected by countless Mexican cooks for decades and decades.
Aaaand, after saying all of this, I have to admit, I modified. I just couldn’t render enough lard by the time I absolutely needed to cook the pork shoulder I bought. So defeated. I oven cooked it. Tightly packing a casserole dish was the only way I could cover the pork with the amount of lard I had. But I still cooked it in lard! And that was my goal when making carnitas. It sounds gross, like the lard will permeate the meat and make it super greasy. This isn’t the case at all. If you’re into nerding it up, you can read this fun article on the science of cooking carnitas.
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