I have been making carnitas since your father and I started dating. Ten years, two kids, and five moves later, it’s still his favorite thing to eat.
Your dad and I were both living in London when we met. I remember we used to go on dates at Bodeans in SoHo. Their “tenner pig out” was the best deal ever back then – pulled pork, ribs, slaw and chips (fries) for ten pounds. The fact that the founder and owner is from Kansas City and used to smoke his meat a few yards down from your grandparents, and that they show American college basketball on tv, definitely added to the draw.
This recipe is adapted from Homesick Texan. It is a reverse braise of sorts. The long simmer renders the fat so that the meat at the end of the cooking time, when all the liquids have evaporated, fries in its own fat.
Carnitas / Pulled Pork
3 lbs pork butt (with plenty of fat), cut into 1×3″ chunks
1 small bottle fresh orange juice (~ 11 oz)
3 times as much water (I use the OJ bottle to measure after pouring out its contents)
2 tsp salt
2.5 tsp sugar (to edge the caramelization on at the end)
Place all the ingredients in a large Dutch oven. Bring the braising liquid to a boil then lower the heat to a bare simmer. Cook uncovered for at least 3 hours.
An hour before you are ready to serve, turn the heat up to a rolling boil to evaporate the remaining braising liquid.
When all the braising liquid has evaporated and all that remains is the rendered fat, the meat will start browning in its own fat. Using two forks, start shredding the meat. It should be so juicy and tender it will just pull apart.
Before you take the shredded meat out, make sure to scrape the brown caramelized bits stuck to the bottom of the pot and mix them in too.
Served tonight as a pulled pork sandwich on Slow Dough challah buns, with Asian slaw.