Author Topic: Carnitas  (Read 2343 times)

Offline Mike GadgetGeek Stock

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« on: February 11, 2010, 11:56:08 PM »
for GG's question
Per traditional carnitas are simmered in hot oil for a while to tenderize the meat. The cooper probally keeps the oil hot and even, so the pork doesn't fry.

The temperature on those wood-fired cauldrons I have seen is very high.   It is deep frying in no uncertain terms.

At some long-lost-time,(at least to the places around here), that is exactly how they did it..  They killed a pig, took some of the fat, rendered it down, and started Confit'ing the pork in its own fat.  It was a process that allowed for cooking most of the "parts" of the pig in the fat first, and then either cooking it some other way later or eating it fairly soon.  Carnitas does really just mean "meat" so honestly it could be beef or pork, but what I know about carnitas (and it is not too much), it is almost always pork.

Those copper, on the West coast, and cast-iron, here in the land of Dixie, large cauldron's have been making lard, cracklings, soap, boiled-peanuts, and in some cases boiling the laundry.  I just don't know why/how the trend toward a copper pot got going..? 
Was it here or in Spain or Portugal that  someone popularized that style of cooking vessel?

In California and in Northern Mexico, you can "call" the kind of meat at the taqueria, then they make certain that what they drag out of that cauldron to make your taco is the uterus cheek, tongue etc. that you wanted.  In other places the meat is just initially cooked in the cauldron, then in a big kettle with a flavored broth, and sometimes finally pulled apart and sort-of fried on a comal before it us wrapped in a corn tortilla and gathered into a hungry mouth. 


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Re: Carnitas
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2010, 10:30:22 PM »
We're going to make the Cooks Illustrated carnitas recipe tomorrow night.

(Specifically, "carne" means "meat", and by itself is understood to mean "meat (from a cow)".  Adding the "-ito/a" suffix is makes the noun diminutive, a feature of the Spanish language that I like a lot.  It implies "cute".  I don't know what "carnito" (masculine) means, or why pork chunks would need the feminine ending ["carnita"].  The best English translation of "carnitas" would be "Lil' meaties" which I think is hilarious enough to pass muster.)

The Cooks Illustrated recipe boils the pork (shoulder) chunks in water, lime juice, and orange juice.  The pork is removed, separated somewhat, and broiled until it is crispy.  Steve has seen preparations of carnitas where the meat is poached in fat, where it is either shredded or deep-fried until crispy.  To me, the proper preparation should be one where the meat is crispy and brown on the outside, and tender on the inside.  Kind of like a meatball.  But carnitas are as alien to my culture as meatballs are, so I'm only stating what I want to eat, not what I think should match my experience.

Offline morebread

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Re: Carnitas
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2010, 07:53:29 AM »
I think "carnitas" are feminine simply because "carne" is feminine.


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