Cooking outdoors isn’t always about smoked meat.
Even though it isn’t BBQ, I figured that I could share this with you all since it is delicious and it does, after all, involve one of my favorite cuts of meat… the pork butt. My family has a tradition of cooking carnitas outdoors on Easter Sunday and feasting on tacos and downing a couple of cold ones. It’s a day that I am not the one responsible for the Q and it gives me some time to just kick back and enjoy the party.
Carnitas are traditionally cooked inside of a “caso” (large copper pot) and deep fat fried in lard until the meat is tender and a tasty crust develops. Pork butts aren’t the only things that are cooked in the lard, Brother X also likes to drop in a rack or two of spare ribs to boot! Deep fat fried ribs… as if the ribs weren’t fatty enough. We chop up the carnitas and wrap them in a tortilla, sprinkle some cilantro and onions and a dollop of homemade salsa. It’s a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Brother X, doing his thing
A caso filled with boiling lard and pieces of pork butt, mmmmmm!
Brother X, cutting up some deep fried ribs.
The carnitas getting cut up.
Tacos de carnitas (carnitas tacos)
Here is an indoor version of the recipe:
- Half a can of Coke or Pepsi
- 2 lemons
- 2 lemons
- 2 pound of lard (or oil)
- 1 pork butt
- Onions and Cilantro diced and mixed together
- Fresh salsa
Trim excess fat from the pork butt and cube into 3 to 4 inch pieces. Heat up lard in a large (large enough to fit the lard and pork with room to spare) dutch oven to 375 F (or right before the lard starts to smoke). Add the soda and let then start adding the meat piece by piece. If the lard starts to cool too much wait for it to reheat before you add more pieces of pork. Don’t let the pot get too full; you can always cook the meat in two batches. Stir the lard and pork every few minutes making sure that it doesn’t stick to the side and that all parts are getting cooked equally. The meat is done when the it is a nice brown color and the internal temperature of the meat reaches 180 F. You can always take out a piece and see if it’s cooked through. Remove the meat and let it drain in a metal colander over a cookie sheet.
Chop up the meat with a cleaver, add some salt and squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the meat. You can serve it on a plate with your favorite side dishes and a batch of tortillasâ€¦ or you can heat up some tortillas fill with meat add some diced onion and cilantro and top it off with your favorite salsa.
IMPORTANT: Never use water to put out an oil fire: the water will splatter the burning oil and spread it more quickly. Instead, smother the flames with a tight-fitting lid or sheet of aluminum foil. If the fire has spread outside the pan, suffocate it with baking soda or a fire extinguisher formulated for oil fires.*
*warning courtesy of http://www.culinary-yours.com