Thursday, July 1, 2010

Super Simple Carnitas with Guacamole

If you were to judge a recipe based on simplicity and sheer deliciousness (which makes sense to me) this would top the list. The carnitas are made with four ingredients (one of which is water) and the guacamole is done in literally 3 minutes, not sure it gets much easier than that.

And the taste! The savory, fall-off-the-bone tender, juicy, succulent flavor of the pork and the silky, vibrant green avocados that are in abundance this time of year - it just doesn't get any better.

I used this carnitas recipe almost verbatim with two changes. I used pork shoulder with the bone in and, after I butchered it, I threw the bone in the pot too.* I also developed my own technique for slightly de-greasing the meat and for pulling the pork, the notes for which are in the recipe.

This is not a meal for someone on a diet or for someone who doesn't love pork in all its glory. But to everyone else, do yourself a favor. This authentic taste of Mexico couldn't be easier.

*Don't be afraid of butchering. While I'm sure there are some real butchers who would cringe at how I handled this pork shoulder, this recipe is incredibly forgiving since the meat cooks to the point of falling apart. Be brave, you won't be disappointed!

Super Simple Carnitas with Guacamole Adapted from The Homesick Texan

For the Carnitas:

3 pounds of pork shoulder

1 cup of orange juice

3 cups of water
2 teaspoons of salt

For the Guacamole:
2 avocados, peeled and cubed
Juice from a lime
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1/2 handful of cilantro
pinch of coarse sea salt

Make the Carnitas

1. Butcher the meat. (I used a very sharp pair of scissors to cut the meat away from the bone and then sliced it). Cut pork into strips (three inches by one inch), add to a large pot with the liquids and the salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered on low for 2 hours. Leave the meat alone.

2. After two hours, turn the heat up to medium, and continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the pork fat has rendered (about 45 minutes). Stir a few times, to keep pork from sticking to bottom of pan.

3. When pork has browned on both sides, it’s ready (there will still be liquid fat in the pan).

4. Prepare a surface with layered paper towels. Using a pair of tongs, remove the meat from the pot and place on the paper-toweled surface. Pat the meat with paper towel to remove excess grease.

5. Using a fork remove any unwanted fat (though it is all delicious) and place pork cubes in a large bowl.

6. Once all the pork is in the bowl, shred the meat. An easy method is to insert the fork into the pork pieces and to twist. Repeat this process until the carnitas are the desired consistency.

Make the Guacamole
1. Add all of the ingredients to a medium-sized bowl.

2. Using the back of a fork, mush the avocado and combine the ingredients.


  1. That looks like Mike's version of heaven! I am definitely going to have to try this one!!

  2. I will never be able to eat carnitas at Chipotle again.