11 March 2014

Texas barbecue, my style

The title of this post is terribly deceptive, because I am really not that into Texas barbecue.  I do not think beef is ever the right choice of meet for slow, smoky cooking (ooh, get out the voodoo dolls with my photo on them!), and sticky-sweet sauce is just boring.  But probably the best tacos I ever had were in Houston, long ago on a trip to audition for graduate school, and they were filled with beautiful, perfectly seasoned pork carnitas.

Texas-style Pork Carnitas

Serves 6-8

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch cubes
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lime juice (from about 2 to 3 limes)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
Corn tortillas, for serving 
Toppings: avocado slices, chopped cilantro, shredded cabbage, sliced red onion, and lime wedges

Place the pork in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot. Add the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, salt and enough water to just barely cover the meat. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for two hours. Don’t touch the meat.

After two hours, increase the heat to medium-high and while occasionally stirring and turning the pieces, continue to cook for about 45 minutes, or until all of the liquid has evaporated, leaving only the rendered pork fat. Let it sizzle in this fat long enough to brown at the edges, turning pieces gently, only as needed.

When pork has browned on both sides, it’s ready. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve on warmed tortillas with fixings