Oven Carnitas

Kenji seems to have superpowers. I like everything I’ve made with his guidance, and I’m hoping that this is no exception. I love me some carnitas and I think that trimming off the fat will fit well in my diet.

I found 16 lbs of Pork Butt (Shoulder) at Costco. Only when I got home did I realize that it might have been a bit of overkill. I put half in the freezer for some other adventure. I trimmed off about a pound of fat so I want to say that I put about 6 lbs of pork in the oven. I’m not going to count the calories for this one prior because the braising should render a lot of the fat out of the meat. LoseIt should have some information on braised pork butt.

Ingredient Quantity
Pork Butt 6 Pounds
Onion 1 Large
Orange 1 Large
Garlic 6 Cloves
Bay Leaf 6 Leaves
Cinnamon 1 Big Stick
Peanut Oil 1/4 Cup

Find your biggest casserole dish. This will be the limiting factor for if you can braise all the pork. Preheat oven to 275 Convection Bake.

Trim the pork butt of all the external fat. We’re not smoking it so we don’t need the protection. Cut the butt (I’m going to keep saying butt) in to 2" cubes. Bigger is fine for this because it is going to spend a long time in a low oven.

Peel and quarter the onion and nestle it among your pork chunks in the casserole. Half the orange and squeeze the juice over the pork then nestle the rind in with the chunks too.

Poke your garlic cloves, bay leaves, and pieces of cinnamon stick in the pork as well. Salt and Pepper. Spray the top with cooking spray or drizzle your oil over the top. Cover tightly with foil. Place in the oven for 3.5 hours.

They look pretty good here, though they taste better than they look any day. Note that the picture is during serving time. I weighed out what I wanted for the meal and then tore the chunks in to 1.5" cubes or so and then blasted them in the toaster oven on high for about 10 minutes. This warms them through and gives you some of that carnitas crust. Split with forks to prepare for tacos.

Instead of tortillas, cut a 1" disk off the bottom of a cabbage and submerge cut side up in a pot of boiling water, (Remember Archimedes!). Boil for a few minutes until the leaves get a little soft. Take your cabbage out and peel leaves off gently under cold water. Dry them with paper towels. Presto. Cabbage wraps instead of tortillas.

This doesn’t compare to the time I made carnitas with 6 lbs of lard. But, really, what could?