foodie friday: homesick texan carnitas

Twice. Yes, I made this twice in a matter of two weeks.

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Once on each side of the country. Once in my kitchen in D.C. (tiny mess ensued). Once in my aunt’s kitchen/on the burner outside on the barbeque in warm, sunny L.A. (no mess). And I learned a couple of things.

One. The nice people in the butcher counter at Whole Foods will cut the meat into pieces for you [time saving tip, thank heavens]. My aunt showed me up on that one (and apparently not only will Whole Foods cube the pork shoulder…they will also cook, say, a piece of fish for you while you shop. At no additional cost).

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Two. It smells amazing (but it doesn’t always look pretty). The citrus and the meat is an amazing smell combo. You will want a taco and a margarita asap. Plan ahead.

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Three. You will eat more of these then you should. They don’t need a million fancy toppings. You, however, will probably need pants with an elastic waist band.

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Homesick Texan Carnitas
from The Homesick Texan Cookbook, adapted by Smitten Kitchen and Me

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice (from about 2 to 3 limes)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
a slash of tequila if you are feeling punchy (my addition)

Corn tortillas, for serving
Toppings: Avocado slices, chopped cilantro, diced onions, salsa (of your choice)

Place the pork in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot. Add the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt, (tequila), and enough water  to just barely cover the meat. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for two hours. Don’t touch the meat. [don’t worry if your water evaporates a little]

After two hours, increase the heat to medium-high and while occasionally stirring and turning the pieces, continue to cook for about 45 minutes, or until all of the liquid has evaporated, leaving only the rendered pork fat. Let it sizzle in this fat long enough to brown at the edges, turning pieces gently (they’ll be eager to fall apart), only as needed.

When pork has browned on both sides, it’s ready. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve on warmed tortillas with fixings.

5 thoughts on “foodie friday: homesick texan carnitas”

  1. This sounds amazing! I will be having a “Welcome home from the Army for good” party for my son in June. I do believe this will be on the menu!

    1. Susan, it is a great one! I had two different friends make it this weekend and everyone got great results. And it’s a crowd-pleaser. Enjoy and let me know how it turns out!

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