For home cooks who lack a smoker, this recipe is as simple as it gets and achieves the succulence and crispy brown edges that define good carnitas. After slowly braising the meat, it’s fried in the fat that has been rendered. Best of all, it all happens in just one pan.
3 1/2 to 4 pound pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch-thick lengths
4 tsp sea salt
1. Salt all four sides of the pork, and add to an ovenproof pan with 1/3-cup water. Cover the pan with foil, and bake for 1 hour in a 375-degree oven.
2. Turn the heat up to 450 degrees, uncover the pork, and roast until all the liquid is evaporated, about 30 minutes. Continue to roast for 10 to 15 minutes, turning the pork once, until lightly browned.
3. Remove pork from the oven, cut into chunks, and serve immediately with warm corn tortillas and salsa fresca.
Makes 8 to 12 servings
12 to 16 fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 medium red onions, diced
2 jalapeños, seeded and finely minced (use gloves)
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tsp sea salt
2 bunches cilantro, rinsed and chopped
Combine the tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, garlic, salt, and cilantro. Juice the limes over the salsa and stir. Refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours before serving.
Makes 12 servings
Recipes by Tracie Gleffe, Executive Chef, Bend-LaPine School District