I started looking around for carnitas recipes and found plenty of them, each using a slightly different methodology but all of them reassuring, with forgiving ingredient lists and nods to other cooking techniques in the comments added, typically something along the lines of "don't worry - they'll still be delicious!".
I do so like it when I'm told not to worry by people who blog like they know what they are doing. The only type of recipe I am currently attracted to is of the "you can not mess this up" variety. A blogger friend calls this low fuckupability factor. I think that term pretty much sums up the only kind of cooking I'm interested in.
Back to our carnitas. I hodge-podged together a recipe, deciding to braise the pork in the oven ahead of time and then figure out how I will brown/crisp the meat when the time comes to serve the tacos.I must confess. It smelled so damned good at the end of this first hour I could barely resist the temptation to test drive a taco (or 4) ahead of time to, um,
Here's what I did.
2 pounds pork butt cut (roughly) into 3 inch by 1 inch strips
salt and pepper
1 small 1015 onion peeled and halved
2 bay leaves
juice of 1 lime
2 cups water
1 medium orange, halved and juiced, (seeds removed)
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Salt and pepper your pork strips and add the meat, onion, bay leaves, juices, water and orange halves to a Dutch oven.Bring this to a simmer on the stove top, then cover and place into the heated oven.
After an hour in the oven, turn the meat and continue cooking for one additional hour.Remove pork from the dutch oven (it should be tender and falling apart) and reserve in a bowl. Remove the bay leaves, onion and orange rinds from the liquid. On the stove top bring the liquid to a brisk boil and reduce to approximately 1 cup. (I plan to do this the day of our dinner.)
Check reduced liquid for seasoning adding salt and pepper to taste. Pour liquid over pork in bowl. Pull each strip of meat into two pieces using two forks and place on racks over a baking sheet. Broil meat well away from the heat source for several minutes (5-7) on each side until well browned and crisped on the exterior. Watch carefully to prevent charring.
Serve immediately in tortillas with additional elements to suit.
¡Olé, y'all! ¡Viva Niman Pork! ¡Viva Wheatsville! ¡Viva Bryan! ¡Viva Tecolote Farms! ¡Viva Micheladas! ¡Viva Mexico!