- 6 lbs Pork ButtBone in or Out
- 1 large OnionChopped
- 2 OrangeJuice and Peels
- 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
- 4 slices Bacon
- 3 tablespoons GarlicMinced
- 2 Cinnamon Stick
- 2 Bay Leaf
- 2 tablespoons Anise Seed
- 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
Carnitas, literally meaning “little meats”, is a dish of Mexican cuisine originating from the state of Michoacán. Carnitas are made by braising or simmering pork in oil or preferably lard until tender. (per Wikipedia)
I’m afraid that I have to disagree with that statement. Carnitas can be made beautifully via the Sous Vide (I highly recommend the Anova) method with a quick sear to crisp up the ends afterwords.. Using this method the pork butt is guaranteed to come out beautifully moist and flavorful and the color will be perfect, not the dull gray color I’ve seen at the popular restaurants in town serving carnitas. Another little bit about the benefit of sous vide; summertime in Phoenix, Arizona is not the time to be using the oven because it heats up the kitchen. Using the sous vide method of cooking keeps the kitchen cool and you don’t lose any flavor. As a matter of fact because the meat cooks for so long it actually picks up more flavor
If you have a family of four or less you can have a minimum of three different dinners in one week. If your family is fussy when it comes to leftovers let me tell you a little secret; they’ll never know that it’s leftovers because it can be transformed into something new/different night over night. One batch of carnitas can morph into tacos, tostada’s, burritos, enchilada’s, a taco salad, burrito bowls and the list goes on. If you have a larger family and are budget conscious the Pork Butt is a an inexpensive cut of meat and stores often have their own brand of bacon that is less expensive than the name brands. You could feed a family of 6 like kings for less than $25. If you ask me, it doesn’t get much better than that.
Get your sous vide and container set up. This cooks at a high heat. If your container is sitting on your counter make sure you have it sitting on a cutting board or some other type of material that will prevent your granite from cracking or your Formica from burning. I put my container on a large cutting block right next to the sink. Pre-heat the water to 175%.
If you have a pork butt that is larger than 3 lbs divide it into two pieces, place into your sous vide bag(s)
Chop your onion and divide between the two bags. In a small bowl add all the dry ingredients and then squeeze the orange juice into the mixture, add the garlic and pour over the meat in the sous vide bag. Add the orange peel and bacon (if using two bags divide the spices and bacon evenly between the bags. Make sure that each bag has a cinnamon stick and bay leaves.
Seal the bags up so they do not leak while cooking. Onions release gases that will cause the bag to expand; I highly recommend that you triple seal the bags before you drop them in the water. Trust me on this one because I've had one, epic fail with this recipe and it was because of the bag expanding and the seal releasing.
Drop the sealed sous vide bags into the water bath, then go live your life for about 20 hours.
After the carnitas and cooked between 18-22 hours through water immersion, turn the heat off and carefully remove the bags from the hot water. Place them in the sink to let them cool down for approximately 30 minutes.
Carefully open the bags and place the cooked carnitas into a large bowl. In a separate bowl strain the juices and then place a large pan on the stove with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. You're nearly done....
Browning the meat.
Using your hands shred the carnitas meat removing any bones, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and large pieces of fat. When the it is completely shredded turn the heat on high and organize your counter with the shredded pork, juices a tong and a bowl for the seared carnitas.
Carefully put some of the shredded meat into the hot pan adding a few ladles of the juices. Cook on high until all the juices evaporate and you start to see the meat browning/crisping up. Remove from the pan and repeat the process until all of the carnitas meat has been fully cooked and browned.
A Dinner to Make Everyone Happy!