Top | The Homesick Texan Cookbook
(recipe, Lisa Fain)
Carnitas, which means "little meats" in Spanish, come in several guises. Some people serve it stringy, like pulled pork. Some people serve it in huge chunks, with bits of bone still attached. And some serve it in smaller cubes, perfect for popping in your mouth. Though no matter how it's presented, it's always succulent slow-cooked pork that's tender on the inside and crunchy on the out. The state of Michoacan, Mexico, is renowned for its carnitas, which they cook in lard. It's a decadent eating experience, as the pork is slick and smooth with just enough texture to keep things interesting. You can, however, achieve a similar texture by cooking the pork shoulder in water until the liquid has evaporated. Because you haven't trimmed the fat off the pork, after the liquid is gone the pot is filled with rendered pork fat that browns the outside to a caramelized crisp, yielding succulent carnitas that are crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.