May 5-8 Pork Carnitas for Cinco de Mayo

May 5     Pork Carnitas, Ceviche for Cinco de Mayo
May 6     Dinner at Guu Saka Bar
May 7     leftover pork carnita on mexican rice
May 8     Mother's Day dinner at Guu Saka Bar AGAIN

We love Cinco de Mayo because we love Mexican food. That means that even though I am way more Irish than I am Mexican, I prefer Cinco de Mayo over St Patrick's day. Who wouldn't rather eat slow braised well seasoned meats, wrapped in a fresh corn tortilla with bright, fresh salsa over a plate of boiled meat and cabbage? Honestly.

Every Christmas eve I make cochinita pibil and we all really love it but it's also very labour intensive and time consuming. You have to make achiote paste and marinate the pork, wrapped in banana leaves for a whole day before you can even think about cooking it. This is why it's a once a year kind of meal and the rest of the time when we eat tacos, I do fish and chicken mainly. Now that I have this stunning Le Creuset Dutch oven I feel like it needs to be used so I decided it was time to do a pork butt in the oven but pare down the recipe so it wouldn't require all that spice rub making and marinating and banana leaving. I have been looking around for a recipe for some time and decided that I liked the sound of a Cook's Illustrated recipe I found on The Bitten Word.

We also had tilapia ceviche, a blended salsa, guacamole, pickled red onions and chipotle crema
I had planned to make the corn tortillas myself but I need a new tortilla press and just couldn't fit a trip downtown into my day so I bought premade, soft corn tortillas and heated them up.

Pork Carnitas
adapted by a recipe I found on The Bitten Word

3 lb pork but cut up into about 2" chunks
1 large clove garlic
1 onion sliced roughly
1 tlbs cumin
1 tbls chili powder
1 tbls ground annatto seeds
juice of 1 lime
juice of 1 orange
2 cups of water or chicken stock

fresh corn tortillas
condiments of your choice : salsas, guacamole, crema, pickled red onions, shredded cabbage, hot peppers etc. It's up to you what you want to use.

Preheat oven to 300F
Combine all of the ingredients in a heavy dutch oven with a cover. Bring to a boil on top of the stove, put on the lid and then transfer into your oven. Let it cook for an hour and then stir it all up and cook for at least one more hour. The meat should be falling apart.
Remove the meat and put aside. Put your dutch oven on the burner and and boil the cooking liquid until it has reduced to about a cup.
Turn on your broiler.
Pull the reserved pork apart using your fingers or a two forks. Skim as much fat off the top of the reduced cooking liquid as you can and then pour it over the pork, salt and pepper if  needed. Put a rack on a baking tray and broil the meat for about 8 or 9 minutes on each side until the edges start to brown and get a bit crispy.
Remove and shred even more with the two forks if needed and it is ready to make tacos with.

pork, drained and ready to go under the broiler

To assemble the tacos, heat up the fresh corn tortillas on a dry griddle (a cast iron pan is perfect for this) or frying pan over med heat. Just a minute on each side is fine. I pile them up in a basket wrapped in a clean tea towel as I make them and then just bring them to the table.
Serve with salsa, chipotle crema, guacamole, shredded red cabbage, pickled red onions or whatever else you like. Jalepeno peppers, raw slivered onion, different types of salsas are all great. You just pile it all on a tortilla, wrap it up and eat it.


  1. Gorgeous carnitas! I've only made them once, but your photos have convinced me that these have to make an appearance on our menu again~

  2. Mmmm! I LOVE IT! I think I'm going to make some carnitas using the slow cooker :-) Throw in some pineapple and onions and mmm mmm mmm, I'll be able to make tacos al pastor!


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