Pulled Pork Mexican Style (Carnitas)

http://www.loveandcook.co.uk/food-recipes-reviews/recipe/homemade-corn-tortillas/Pulled pork seems to be everywhere these days, from bistros offering it in soft brioche buns, to fancier restaurants jazzing it up as a main course. I have tried a few different recipes and finally settled on one by America’s test kitchen because I love the ease of the recipe and the final grilling before serving. This not only allows you to do everything beforehand, but the grilling also creates some crispy bits, which everyone seems to love. Moreover the recipe is made in the oven, so you don’t need to wait for barbeque weather!

Due to the time taken it might sound complicated, but it’s really a rookie recipe as it needs to special skills and just needs time.  It’s an excellent one to have in your repertoire if you need to feed a crowd. Just double it.

The cooking process has no added fat, so the cut of pork used needs to be fatty. An ideal option is pork shoulder. If you can’t find boneless shoulder, a big chunk of pork loin (not tenderloin), with the fat layer attached will also work.

You could do the simple bistro thing and serve the pork in a bun, but I wanted some authenticity and perhaps a bit of a healthier meal after the holiday feasting. So I chose to make fresh corn tortillas and a roast tomato salsa to go with it. You absolutely don’t have to that, but corn tortillas are surprisingly easy to make and so worth it. Click on links below for the recipes.

Homemade Corn Tortillas

Roast tomato salsa

Print Recipe
Pulled Pork Mexican Style (Carnitas)
This recipe is an easy one to make ahead, so that you you just need to reheat it under the grill before serving. It really doesn’t need much else. Serving in a bun or with fresh tortillas. Good accompaniments include salsa, lettuce, hot pickled peppers, pickled onions, avocado, fresh coriander, sour cream, etc.
Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 2hrs 30 min
For the pork:
Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 2hrs 30 min
For the pork:
For the pulled pork:
  1. Cut the pork into 2-inch chunks, or get the butcher to do it.
  2. Preheat the oven to 150C (140Fan) and place an oven tray in the lower third of the oven.
  3. In a heavy casserole or pot (like a Le Creuset), combine the pork, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, cumin powder, onion, bay leaves, oregano and lime juice. Add enough water to just cover meat.
  4. Juice the orange, remove any seeds, and add the juice and spent orange halves to pot. Bring mixture to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Cover pot and transfer to oven with the timer set for 2 hours.
  5. After about 1 hour, give the pork a stir and flip over the pieces.
  6. After 2 hours are up, check the meat. It should be soft and fall apart when prodded with fork, if not continue to cook for a few more minutes.
  7. Once done, remove casserole from the oven. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pork to a bowl.
  8. Discard the orange halves and bay leaves from cooking liquid and put the pot back on the hob over high heat carefully, remembering that the handles will be very hot.
  9. Boil down the cooking liquid, stirring frequently, until it’s thick and syrupy, which should take about 8 to 12 minutes. You should have about 1 cup reduced liquid. The sauce should be thick enough for the spatula to leave a trail when pulled through it.
  10. Meanwhile using 2 forks, pull each piece into shreds. Mix in the reduced sauce; check seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
To serve:
  1. Heat the oven to the highest grill setting. Spread pork in a single layer on wire rack set inside baking tray. Place the baking tray on the middle rack of the oven (not the top, else it might burn) and grill until top of meat is well browned (but not charred) and edges are slightly crisp, 8-10 minutes.
  2. Using wide spatula, flip pieces of meat and continue to grill the other side until top is well browned and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes longer. Serve immediately with warm tortillas or buns and the garnishes.
Recipe Notes

Leftovers freeze very well, and can be used as a sandwich filling or added to fried rice. The kids also love it as a filling for quesadillas (what's not to love about melting cheese and slow cooked pork?)!

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