The Functional Hermit

musings from a homebody

Posts Tagged ‘carnitas recipe

NFL Week 9 Menu: It’s carnitas time

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Bow down and worship the insane deliciousness that is carnitas. Salty. Spicy. Juicy. Citrusy. With a butter-knife-tender consistency that melts in your mouth and falls apart easier than Wade Phillips’ Dallas Cowboys. I’ve been tweaking this recipe since first trying it but this time I cut out an entire step that saved a huge amount of time and effort with zero downside. The list of ingredients was surprisingly short. Here’s what went into it this time:

3.75 pound pork butt, with fat trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 tablespoons of seasoned salt

2 medium onions, quartered.

2 jalapeno peppers

1 bulb’s worth of garlic – about 8 cloves

1 cup of orange juice

1 teaspoon of liquid smoke

handful of cilantro

flour tortillas, lime wedges, diced red onion for serving

I started by cubing the pork. The bone of a boston butt is always a pain to trim around. One day I’m going to slice a finger open doing it but this time I didn’t draw any blood. There was more fat than usual on this butt so it took some effort. Once cubed, season the pork with the seasoned salt and mix well.


Previously, at this point I would heat some oil in my workhorse of a dutch oven and brown/sear the pork in batches. Then I’d deglaze the pan with the orange juice and go from there. I started wondering if this was really necessary so this time I held back, though sizzling meat in oil is always a fun way to kill some time.

So this time around I just went ahead and added the orange juice, jalapeno peppers, onions, liquid smoke, garlic and cilantro into the dutch oven and mixed well. Then just mixed in my raw, seasoned pork.

Then I put on the cover and stuck it into my preheated oven. I originally planned on cooking it for 4 hours at 300 degrees. But I got a bit gun shy and kicked it up to 325 degrees for the first 90 minutes. That ended up being unnecessary. Next time we’ll be keeping it at a steady 300. Here’s what it looked like at the four-hour mark.

My wife steamed up some flour tortillas so they were nice and soft. We just spooned a healthy amount into a tortilla, gave it a squeeze of lime and some red onions for texture. My tacos got a healthy dose of hot sauce, but my wife doesn’t roll that way. Sometimes she can be lame like that.

This dish never disappoints. If you ever make it for someone and they don’t like it I suggest seriously reconsidering your association with them.



Written by the bee dub

November 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Posted in Hermit Grub

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Labor Day Menu: Carnitas

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Due to a family health crisis and camera technology issues, I’m a bit behind on my blogging. But the Functional Hermit must roll on. Thus, a few days late, I bring you the epicurean finale to our long, holiday weekend.

I was going to save the carnitas for the first Sunday of the NFL season, otherwise known as ‘the greatest fucking day to be a man and drink beer,’ but I just couldn’t hold back. I’ll have to come up with something else suitably grandiose and indulgent for this weekend.

I’m at the point with this recipe where I’ve started playing around with it and I already know what else I’m going to change the next time I make it. It all started with a 3.75-pound pork butt. I cut it into one-inch cubes, trimming away whatever fat I could along with the bone and then seasoned the cubes with just under two tablespoons of seasoned salt.

Then I heated up some vegetable oil in Lou Gehrig, the workhorse dutch oven of my kitchen, and browned the pork in two batches. While browning, this was a good time to preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

When all the pork is browned, I drained out the fat and oil and then had a lot of crispy brown deliciousness stuck to the bottom. To this I added just over a cup of orange juice and scraped all that awesomeness so it was no longer stuck and infused itself into the orange juice.

Now it was time to add a handful of chopped cilantro, six garlic cloves, one quartered onion and two sliced jalapeno peppers. The second jalapeno was a new addition and next time I’m definitely adding another onion to cook the pork with.

Then I returned the browned pork into all this and mixed well.

I put the lid back on and then placed this into a 300 degree oven for three and a half hours. Then, it’s Ari Gold time: Boom!

There are a lot of ways to serve carnitas but I just stick with the ‘throw the shit in a tortilla’ method. Last time I served it with some avocado slices, fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime. Now, I love me some avocado but as crazy as this sounds, I think these ‘carnitas tacos’ are better off without it.

My wife performed her foolproof ‘steam the tortillas in the oven’ trick and we were ready to rock. This time, inside the tortilla I rolled with the carnitas, some diced red onion, a squeeze of lime and some healthy dollops of hot sauce (sorry honey).

It was good eatin’ and a great way to cap off a weekend with the best weather we’ve seen in these parts in a long, long time.

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Written by the bee dub

September 8, 2010 at 3:45 pm

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Carnitas Follow Up

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There was definitely way too much salt in that recipe.

We ate leftovers last night and they were good but definitely suffered from an overabundance of salt. Next time, I’m cutting way, way back. There’s no way it needs nearly that much in there.

Live and learn.

Written by the bee dub

June 2, 2010 at 10:53 am

Olé Bitches…Carnitas!

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First, to begin with I have a rant. Memorial Day weekend at the supermarket is the amateur hour of grocery shopping. Like how posers who aren’t fun and never party go out full force on New Year’s Eve, the market is full of first-time grillers clogging the aisles as they wander and search for capers for the first time in their lives. Gee, that’s just going to make your tilapia just perfect right before it falls apart and disappears between the grates of your grill because you have no idea what you’re doing. Do ya pal?

(Alright, now I feel better having gotten that off my chest.)

Today, like ill-intentioned, pimple-faced teens heading to Tijuana, we take a quick trip south of the border…

Most times I’m at a good Mexican joint, I really like their carnitas. I knew it was a magically roasted pork of some kind and never looked into it beyond my taste buds. Recently for some reason I got the idea in my head that I should try it. It doesn’t look hard, at least not when you check out the finished product. Turns out authentic carnitas is pork roasted in lard. I wasn’t going to mess with that but found a recipe that gave me a good starting point.

It all started with a four-pound boston butt. Cubed that into two-inch hunks, trimming fat away as I went. I cut a LOT of fat away but made sure there was a good amount left. Then I seasoned all that with four tablespoons of seasoned salt.

In my dutch oven, which is my all-time Lou Gehrig fucking workhorse of all pots and pans, I seared the meat on all sides in a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium high heat.

This took a while. There’s a serious amount of meat, much like the pork stew I’ve made before. With all the meat set aside after searing, I poured in 3/4 cup of water and 1/2 cup of orange juice and was able to stir up all the brown, blow-your-mind deliciousness stuck to the bottom.

Then I dumped in a handful of cilantro, six garlic cloves, a quartered onion, a sliced jalapeno and a teaspoon of liquid smoke.

Dumped in my pork and gave it all a good stir.

Covered my dutch oven and then took it outside to my grill. I had just the front burner on and put the pork on the other side. Covered the grill and kept the temperature at around 300 degrees.

Three hours later…we had ourselves a carnitas hoe down.

It was awesome. Fork tender. Well seasoned. Ready for a hot tortilla, a few slices of avocado and some hot sauce (extra on my wife’s).

Next time I do this I’m definitely going to do some things different. For one, there’s no way I need four tablespoons of seasoned salt for the meat. Next time I’m going to use half that, maybe even less. The other thing is the liquid that was still in the pot. Judging from all the recipes I saw, this dish is perfectly cooked when there’s no liquid left. That means either longer cooking time or hotter temperature.

A few beers and another serving of pork will help settle that debate.

Written by the bee dub

June 1, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Posted in Hermit Grub

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