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Carnitas with pico de gallo PDF Print E-mail
Written by Launie Kettler   
Monday, 06 June 2011 22:33

I've never braised meat – let alone for 8 hours. But I wanted to make carnitas for the first time, and braising is as important to the dish as the pork itself. So I braced myself – I was going to be tortured by the aroma of pork and spices for most of the evening/night.


When the meat was done, I used two big forks to pull it out of the braising liquid. But the meat was so tender, that it just fell apart with a splash before I could get it out of the pot.


I had a fun few minutes of “find the pork”  before I was able to get the little pieces out of the pot and onto a platter to let them cool. And then I spent a few minutes cleaning up the braising liquid from the stove and floor. Since it was so late in the evening (and most recipes call for the meat to chill over night) I changed my soaked outfit for pajamas and considered day one of cooking complete.


The meat was so tender and flavorful that I didn't mind the mess.


And we enjoyed carnitas and pico de gallo the next day.


Braised pork

4 lbs of pork shoulder

Olive oil

10 cups of water

2 cups of chicken stock

2 onions, quartered

2 jalapenos, halved

1 tablespoon of chili powder

1 tablespoon of cumin

Salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil until it's hot but not smoking. Add the pork and brown on all sides. Add the liquid, onions, jalapenos and spices. Let simmer for 8 hours.


Carnitas with Pico de Gallo

1 package of flour or corn tortillas

Pulled pork (re-heated)


Pico de gallo

A wedge of lime or lime juice

Pickled jalapenos

Monterrey jack cheese


Either heat the tortillas in a microwave with a damp paper towel for 20 seconds, or quickly heat them over a stove gas burner. If you're using fajitas-sized tortillas, just set them on the burner for about 5 seconds a side. If you use full-sized tortillas, just flop the middle of the tortilla on the burner and slide it from the center to the edge, turn it slightly and repeat until that side is heated and slightly colored. Flip it and do the same on the other side. This takes about 10 seconds per side and works equally well on gas or electric stoves.

Top the tortilla with pork and layer with pico, cheese, extra jalapenos and lime juice. (Even though there are jalapenos and lime in the pico, having another layer of them makes these incredibly spicy.)

I'm putting this in as an early contender for my favorite summer meal.


(Photos by Launie Kettler)

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 August 2012 17:21
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+1 #1 Kelee 2011-06-07 05:32
I just bought a big hunk o' pork yesterday with no real plans for cooking it. Coincidence?
+1 #2 Launie Little-Kettle 2011-06-07 19:16
I highly recommend braising it for 8 hours, but have decent contingency plan for getting it out of the pot. :)
+1 #3 Momof3wildkids 2012-08-30 19:02
Beyond delicious and amazing. My kids barely said a word during dinner as they gobbled up the pork with all the fixings.

So amazing with the California Pinot Noir we had with it.

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