Real carnitas are abundant in Austin Texas. They’re not fancy, no frippery is needed to construct the dish. All you need is pork, salt and maybe pepper if you’re feeling particularly ambitious.
I used to use Chef Miguel Ravago’s recipe from his cookbook “Cocina de la Familia” that uses Dr. Pepper in the roasting process.
His method makes some very fine carnitas but it is unnecessarily fancy. Country style pork ribs are generally my meat of choice. I like to start with about ten pounds of meat as you’ll be surprised how fast they get eaten. While it’s easy enough to run down to one of Austin’s dozens of Mexican markets and score a pound of prepared carnitas for 6 bucks, I like to hit the kitchen and make them from scratch.
10 lbs Ribs, Pork, Country style
Salt, Kosher or Sea
Pepper, Black, Fresh Ground
Oil, Peanut is best
* Slather ribs lightly with oil
* Coat generously with good salt and perhaps pepper
* Place in baking dish
* Roast at 200 degrees for 4 hours or til the meat is spoon tender
* Drain fat that has roasted off the meat into metal bowl
* Place bowl in fridge, the next day remove fat cake from surface, it provides a delicious cooking medium for skillet potatoes
* There will be what appears to be some brown pudding in the bottom of the bowl, save this pork jus and put it in with your next kettle of beans
Your carnitas are now ready to eat. The 200 degree part is important. This is a good temperature to ensure your meat is meltingly tender.
When I’m eating them out of the fridge I hack them up with my chef knife, get my cast iron scorchingly hot and toss the pork in the pan. Once the flesh is crispy the carnitas are ready for tacos, tortas or whatever purpose you’ve deemed is the best way to get them in your gullet.
I like to eat them as tacos for a few servings then take the remaining carnitas and make a New Mexico style Tortilla Pie recipe http://www.scrumptiouschef.com/food/2010/6/21/New-Mexico-Tortill