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Carnitas (again!)

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  • lostclusters
    commented on 's reply
    zzdocxx it was my understanding that cane sugar is what was sought after to produce the desired crisping on the carnitas.

  • zzdocxx
    replied
    Follow on question to the esoterica above:

    If I were to buy a stainless/all clad/whatever roasting pan, and put it in the smoker grill, would it get all black and need lots of cleaning ?

    Leave a comment:


  • zzdocxx
    replied
    Originally posted by lostclusters View Post
    Here where I am, near San Diego, the best carnitas I have had was seared under a broiler after they were cooked. It was in a taco like salad and was absolutely delish. This result is difficult to achieve unless cola made with real sugar is used in the carnitas prep.
    I'm wondering if these other recipes that call for brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, etc., might offer the same advantages.

    Leave a comment:


  • zzdocxx
    replied
    Esoterica here:

    I was thinking about whether there would be any advantage to incorporating sous-vide to this formula.


    Would sous-vide result in the pork being cooked in lots of rendered fat?

    Could liquid smoke be added to the sous-vide? I have read that some companies offer liquid smoke in water or oil base or both.

    Does cooking on the stove top leach out any of the smoke I applied on the grill? Would adding liquid smoke to cook top prepared carnitas add anything significant to the flavor?

    As far as sous-vide, I would like something to crisp it up a bit anyway.

    On the other hand, there are serious proponents for cooking in a pressure cooker with Rotel here. Much quicker but can't be left all day without watching it. For that matter, does sous-vide offer any advantage over a "slow cooker" (same as a "crock-pot", isn't it?). Haha, I remember when those crock pots came out in the 70's when I was a young chap, we had a lot of meals from that, mostly chicken but also beef sometimes.

    On the smoker grill, if I wrapped the pork in pink butcher paper after it got a crust, would that decrease the dryness that I often get when I smoke for hours and hours on the grill ? Does anyone here do it that way ? I came across that idea on the internet. Considering the amount of pellets used and the ash to be cleaned out of the grill, I am seeing less and less benefit to cooking for 10 hours on the smoker grill . . .

    To summarize the issues under consideration:

    1. Any advantages to sous-vide? (Apart from that I have a setup but not a crock-pot currently.)
    2. Liquid smoke - oil vs water based, and utility in confit/braise/pressure cook/crock-pot ?
    3. Crock-pot +/- vs sous-vide vs. pressure cook ?
    4. Wrapping in pink butcher paper to avoid dryness on smoker grill ?

    Thanks for your indulgence !




    Leave a comment:


  • barelfly
    commented on 's reply
    Oh gosh…..fresh tortillas to boot. Yes.. that is just perfect! You win…winner winner…all-time taco dinner!

  • zzdocxx
    commented on 's reply
    barelfly Yep, just cooked with a smidge of butter/lard.

  • IowaGirl
    commented on 's reply
    Yes, you're right -- meat cooked in fat probably has a higher fat content than one that's braised in a water-based liquid. Since this meat is used sparingly mixed with veggies, tortilla, etc., however, it gets stretched a long way -- it's not the same as chowing down on a big fatty steak.

  • barelfly
    commented on 's reply
    That’s just about as good as it gets! Is that a fresh corn tortilla?

  • zzdocxx
    replied
    Latest creation.
    corn tortilla, crisped carnitas, onion, cilantro, green salsa, lime juice, pickled red onion.

    Attached Files

    Leave a comment:


  • zzdocxx
    replied
    Originally posted by IowaGirl View Post
    I have tried making carnitas cooked with added broth and carnitas cooked with added fat. I much prefer the results I get with the "added fat" method. I have adapted Kenji's oven method of making carnitas for my Hasty Bake. Here's a link to the article and recipe in case a person wants to read rather than watch a video -- https://www.seriouseats.com/no-waste...a-verde-recipe

    I cooked 14 pounds (untrimmed weight) of bone in butt a couple of weekends ago. I cut the trimmed and deboned meat into cubes about 2 inches (5 cm) on a side. Season the meat to your preference. I kept it simple this time --

    Per 3 pounds of cubed meat --
    1 tsp kosher salt (use a light hand -- can always add more salt later)
    1 orange, washed but unpeeled, cut into 6 to 8 thick slices or wedges
    1/2 medium-large onion, peeled, cut same as the orange
    1-2 garlic cloves, peeled, whole
    1 whole bay leaf

    Pack the meat cubes TIGHTLY into a pan (14 pounds fit into a 18x13x2 inch half-sheet baking pan), press the bay, garlic, onion, and orange into the meat and scatter the salt over all. Add enough fat (melted lard or vegetable oil) to almost cover the meat. I leave the top 1/2-3/4 inch (1.5-2 cm) of the meat uncovered so it is exposed to the smoke.

    Smoke for 2-3 hours at 250-275 F / 120-135 C. After that time, cover the pan tightly with foil and continue to bake the meat at that same temperature until the meat is tender enough to pull apart. You can do the baking step in the smoker or in the oven, whichever you prefer.

    Let the meat cool until it is safe to handle. Remove and discard the bay leaves, obvious onion bits, and the orange slices. Shred the meat, removing larger objectionable bits as you go, and portion into meal sized packages. I usually put about 8 oz / 230 g meat per package which is enough to feed 2-4 people depending on the type of dish and the size of the appetites.

    Strain the fat and juices into a cup. Portion some or all of the fat into each package of meat. Reserve the juices for other purposes. Seal each package and freeze. Sweet-talk a kind husband into scrubbing a huge baking pan that's black with smoke.

    edit - The initial weight of 14 pounds / 6.4 kg of untrimmed bone-in meat produced about 5.5 lb / 2.5 kg cooked meat -- that's just under 40% yield.

    "...The white brick-o-lard ... will actually leach flavor out of the meat...."

    I'm not sure I see how unflavored lard can leach flavor out of the meat more than unflavored veg oil would, but that's just my unfounded opinion. Would love to see info that explains how veg oil and lard perform differently in this kind of situation.

    Anyways, it's not that big of a deal. I use lard because I have it on hand and I think it has a slightly different mouth feel than veg oil. But if I was short of lard, I'd be okay using veg oil.

    Another thing to remember about flavor being lost into the fat -- If you follow Kenji's method, all or most of that fat is mixed back into the meat after pulling, so it's not like all that yummy flavor goes to waste. It's only the water-based juices that are used elsewhere, such as in the salsa he makes.
    One last question for the group.

    I noticed this batch of carnitas, which I did pour avocado oil all over after it had cooked a while with the blendered onion/water/herbs/etc., it seemed a lot more fatty than usual. Usual way of cooking being many hours on the smoker grill at low temp.

    I'm not sure if I just got a fatty piece of pork butt (I guess they are all fatty) or is there something about cooking it in the fat that keeps it a bit more greasy. Because rather than being on the grill this time and having loads and loads of fat drain off, it was in a roasting pan so it was also cooking in the rendered lard.

    So it seems that actual carnitas technically/traditionally are actually confited (is that a word?) and not braised. I am certainly open to shortcuts and variations however.

    So is that something to expect, somewhat more greasy/fatty pork when done as a confit ?
    Last edited by zzdocxx; November 10, 2021, 10:47 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • zzdocxx
    commented on 's reply
    Recipe ?

  • zzdocxx
    commented on 's reply
    ecowper I'm just wondering if there is any particular thing you do to keep parts of it from getting dry on the grill. Or perhaps you have not encountered that issue ?

    Anyway it looks delish !

  • Sweaty Paul
    commented on 's reply
    I just watched Kenji’s Carnitas recipe and it is on the "to do" list for sure.

  • fzxdoc
    commented on 's reply
    Great post. Thanks!

    Kathryn

  • lostclusters
    replied
    Here where I am, near San Diego, the best carnitas I have had was seared under a broiler after they were cooked. It was in a taco like salad and was absolutely delish. This result is difficult to achieve unless cola made with real sugar is used in the carnitas prep.

    Leave a comment:

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