Traditional Old-School Carnitas are the BEST
Today's recipe is a classic old-school rendition of carnitas prepared traditionally: cooked slowly in lard. This is the second carnitas recipe here on 'Confessions' and it is a bit more work than the previously posted one but oh my! Are they glorious!
Chunks of trimmed pork butt (aka, pork shoulder) are cooked slowly in a good amount of pork lard that has had a cup of water added to it. The water keeps the oil from getting too hot, allowing the pork time to cook before browning. As the water and added orange juice evaporate, lots of tiny bubbles break the surface. By the time the water has fully evaporated, the inside of the pork is cooked and it's time for the lard to work it's magic on the outside, giving the carnitas
their familiar, gloriously golden brown crust. The combination of tender moist pork encased by a crunchy, bacon-like exterior is by far my favorite taco filling. Actually, truth be told, this is probably my favorite meat period.
Lard has gotten a bad rap over the years. But like all things, when part of a balanced diet low in processed foods and sugars, a little lard now and then adds similar amounts of good fats as does say a serving of avocado or olive oil. A Washington Post story cited that if it's part of a healthy diet, it's good. If you have a bad, unhealthy diet, then adding lard is definitely not a good thing.
Cinnamon and pork go so well together, adding a warm, earthy flavor.