This dish is always in heavy rotation at our house. So much so, that is never really occurred to me to even post on the blog. I mean, it's downright delicious, but is carnitas the prettiest? But when it comes down to it, this is my ultimate comfort food. Would be a shame not to share it. Criminal!
I've also cooked it SO many times, I've had a lot of time to fine tune the recipe and make a lot of changes here and there. You should feel free to add more heat, add some sweet, serve in a taco, bun, on some nachos, the sky is the limit.
If you are cooking for a large crowd, I'd suggest making two 3 lb pork butts/shoulders. One spicy, one mild. If you are just cooking this up at home, I still suggest making two full servings. This freezes like a dream and it a life saver when you need to pull something out of deep freeze for a quick week night meal. I even keep small portions frozen for additions to other dishes (like my jalepeno poppers).
The moral of the story folks, this recipe does not disappoint.
Beer Braised Carnitas
*really, just double this sh*t and go for it
1, 3 lb pork butt or shoulder
2 beers (I think a good lager works best here)
1 cup chicken stock
3 dried ancho chilis (seeded, de-stemmed, and chopped- heat/roast in the pan to help this along)
2 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp spicy paprika
2 tbsp chili powder (not spicy! may be called chipotle)
salt and pepper
6 garlic cloves, crushed
*for spice amp things up with some chipotle in adobo or some Mike's hot honey to finish
Combine chopped peppers, olive oil, spices, and crushed garlic in a large crock pot insert or dutch oven, over medium heat.
Salt and pepper pork on both sides.
Add beer, chicken stock, and any spicy items (for extra heat) you may like to the mixture. Add pork (liquid should cover meat 1/2 to 3/4 of the way).
Cover and cook for 4 hours on the stove top, or transfer to an oven at 350 degrees, OR, place insert into crock pot and cook on high. Flip pork half way through.
You want the pork to be falling apart at this point. If it isn't, let it cook longer. You're not going to over cook it in delicious broth. If you're out and it's in a crock pot, keep is in there for a few hours on low- not going to hurt it at all. When it is falling apart, transfer to a cutting board and shred meat. Return to broth and heat through until ready to serve. You can add more seasoning at this point if you need to adjust heat or sweetness. Brown sugar, honey, and maple syrup all make lovely additions to a spicy broth.
Serve with tacos, as I did here. If you are feeling lazy, buy a pre cut salad/slaw like this for toppings. Or create your own quick slaw with some cabbage, vinegar and yogurt. Delicious on buns, with bbq sauce, jalapeno, on top of nachos, you get the idea. This dish is a workhorse. And delicious.