Carnitas has always been a bit mysterious to this white woman from the midwest. It’s delicious, yes, but could I tell you what’s in it? Nope. But! We found a recipe, and it turned out to be one of those recipes that was basically: put a bunch of ingredients in a pot and then walk away for a couple of hours. I can do that. Then we had some yummy tacos for dinner – plus leftovers.
3.5lb-4.b boneless pork butt, fat cap trimmed to 0.125″ thick, cut into 2″ chunks
2c water (we ended up using more)
1 small onion, peeled and halved
2T juice from one lime
1t ground cumin
1t dried oregano
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper
1 orange, halved
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300F. Combine all ingredients (1t salt, 0.5t pepper) except the orange in a large dutch over (the liquid should just cover the meat). Juice the orange into a bowl and remove any seeds. Put the juice and the spent orange halves into a pot. Bring to a simmer on the stovetop, then cover and put into the oven until the meat is soft and falls apart when prodded with a fork, about two hours.
Remove the pot from the oven and turn the oven to broil. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a bowl; remove the orange halves, onion, and bay leaves from the cooking liquid and discard. Place the pot over high heat and simmer the liquid until thick and syrupy, 8-12 minutes. You should have about 1c of liquid.
Using two forks, pull each piece of pork in half. Fold in the reduced liquid, season with salt & pepper to taste. Spread the pork in an even layer on a wire rack set inside a baking sheet or broiler pan. Place the sheet on the lower-middle rack and broil until the top of the meat is well browned but not charred and the edges are slightly crisp, 5-8 minutes. Flip the meat over and continue to broil until the other side is the same, another 5-8 minutes.
Serve immediately with tortillas & garnishes. (Potential garnishes: corn tortillas, lime wedges, minced onion, fresh cilantro, sliced radishes, sour cream)