A taqueria lives or dies on its carnitas. They must be nice and crispy outside, moist inside, sufficiently fatty, and full of flavor. The intrepid hound asks: can I make incredible carnitas at home? You bet!
adamclyde suggests a simple method. He uses pork shoulder (cut in 3-inch chunks), the peel of an orange, and lots of fresh lard (enough to barely cover the pork). He cooks on a very low simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until very tender, then cranks up the heat, watching closely. As soon the meat browns, remove to paper towels, salt, and break into chunks to serve.
gordon wing riffs on various carnitas recipes using boneless country-style pork ribs: he cooks them down with water, orange juice, salt and pepper, cumin, a bit of paprika, and some chipotle hot sauce (they give up enough fat that he doesn’t feel need for lard). Once very tender, he browns in a hot wok.
Several chowhounds swear by an Epicurious recipe using boneless country-style pork ribs and orange juice…plus, of all things, brandy. “I thought this sounded odd, but they were by far the best carnitas I’ve ever eaten,” raves FlyerFan.