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Pork Carnitas

Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner (thank goodness!), and what better way to celebrate than with some pork carnitas!  Literally meaning “little meats”, this Mexican dish is flavorful, easy to prepare and yields melt-in-your-mouth porky goodness.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

4 pounds boneless pork butt, fat trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes

1 ½ teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 onion, peeled and halved

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 cups water

1 medium orange, juiced and keep the spend halves

The first thing you need to do is to adjust your oven rack to a lower middle position and heat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  Throw all the ingredients into a large Dutch oven, including the orange halves and juice.  Next, bring all the ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat.  Once it’s simmering, cover the pot and then transfer to your preheated oven.  Cook until the pork falls apart when prodded with a fork, about 2 hours.

Now, remove the pot from the oven and turn on the broiler.  Use a slotted spoon to take the meat out of the pan and place it on a foil lined jelly roll pan or sheet pan, as long as you use something with sides it’ll be fine.  Throw everything else in the Dutch oven away except for the liquid (seriously, that stuff is like gold!). Place the pot with the liquid gold over high heat on the stovetop and boil until it’s thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes.  There should be about 1 cup of liquid remaining once you’ve reduced it down enough.

While the liquid gold is reducing, use a fork to pull apart each cube of meat into three equal sized pieces. Once the liquid is finished, add the pork back into the pot.  Try not to break the pieces of meat down any further, so make sure you use a gentle folding motion when adding it back in.  Taste and add salt and pepper if you so desire.

Spread the pork on the foil lined pan and spread it evenly around so there is a single layer of meat.  Place the pan on the lower middle rack of the oven and broil until the top of the meat is well browned and a bit crispy on the edges, about 5 to 8 minutes.  With a wide metal spatula, flip the meat and broil the other side until it’s equally browned and golden, another 5 to 8 minutes.  Once removed from the oven, it’s ready to be served with tortillas and your favorite toppings.  Ole!

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