[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms. He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on the PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.

Crock Pot Carnitas
29 February 2016

I love living in England and I love living in Yorkshire. The produce is fantastic, the meats are splendid, and there are some lovely restaurants which serve excellent meals. The Mexican food options, however, are dreadful. It's not that the food isn't good, it just isn't right. (And don't get me started on the margaritas.) We were spoiled in NYC since we had a great Mexican restaurant just around the corner. We've not had such good luck over here. Fortunately, there is a solution - I can make my own Mexican food.

Some things are easy enough. Beans, cheese and onion enchiladas, and, if I plan far enough ahead, chorizo. Some dishes are more elusive, such as the rare and precious carnitas. I've taken a stab at making this a few times, and, while the results were always pretty good, they weren't quite right. So I decided to try a different method. Rather than braise or simmer the pork, I'd go for more of a confit treatment. Let me just say, this was a good idea. A very good idea.

[Lots of pictures]

Crock Pot Carnitas

The pork you use should be well-marbled; the slow-cooking process will work its magic on such meat. Cut the pork into chunks, the exact size doesn't matter too much, since the point is simply to let the spices get better coverage. To which end, sprinkle the spicing over the meat and mix it well. I suspect the carnitas would benefit from sitting for a few hours or overnight after the spices had been added, and I'll probably do that next time. I might also add more chile powder.

In any case, pack the meat tightly into the bottom of your slow-cooker. Squeeze the juice out of your citrus fruit. I used grapefruit, since that's what I had; orange would be more traditional. Then cut the peel into pieces and put it on top. Melt your lard and pour enough on to just cover the meat. Be careful! If you've packed it tightly, it will take a moment for the pork fat to seep down. It's all right if the peel isn't completely covered. Set the crock pot on low and go away.

After eight hours or so, the pork will be suitably confited, so tender it falls apart at a touch. Drain the fat off, being sure to save it for later use in other dishes, or further carnitas. (I mean, having lard in the freezer, close to hand for emergencies, is just common sense.) If you'd like, you could crisp it up, as you would any other confit, but I didn't bother.

Serve it however you like. We went for a simple soft taco treatment: cheese, onion - yellow and spring, tomato, bell pepper, and a splash of hot sauce - both Sriracha and Chipotle Tabasco were good. They might not have been as good as the ones at El Porton but they certainly hit the spot.

© 2016 Jeff Berry
The Aspiring Luddite