Sunday, June 20, 2010


Whenever I ate great carnitas in Mexico, I would always ask how they were prepared and they always said they were cooked in lard. Somehow I knew it was not a low calorie recipe because they taste so darn good. A lot of people I know cook Carnitas as a special occasion recipe and guest literally rave about the results. Carnitas after all triggered my addiction to pork.

You can cook the healthy carnitas by using a variation of the root beer pulled pork recipe on this site or you can cook REAL carnitas!

We always went to this little hole in the wall Taquería in Toluca and had Carnitas for breakfast. Miguel swore they tasted so good because grease is the definitive cure for a tequila hangover the morning after. I can still remember how good they were.

Along with the lard, carnitas are also cooked with fresh orange slices. The orange supplies moisture that lowers the temperature of the lard while the interior of the meat cooks. Once this moisture cooks away, the temperature of the lard rises, and the meat browns on the outside. When done they will have a dry, crispy exterior and a moist, succulent interior.

I’ve tried it up a dozen and a half different ways and believe me, there is no substitute for the lard. Oil just does not cut it or give it that big flavors.

So, now you have an excuse to buy 3 pounds of lard!
I wouldn't even publish this recipe if it were not so good!

Carnitas Toluca

3 lbs. lard

3 1/2 lbs. boneless pork butt


1 small orange, sliced

Warmed flour tortillas

Garnish: Salsa Verde, Sour Cream, Chopped Onion, Cilantro, and fresh Jalapeno.

Place the lard in a heavy, deep pot, over medium-low heat. Salt the meat. When the lard is melted, place the meat and orange slices in the pot. The melted lard must cover the meat.

Cook over medium-low heat, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. After about 30 minutes, the lard will begin to boil. As the moisture gradually cooks away the temperature of the lard will rise, allowing the meat to brown. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Serve carnitas with tortillas and garnishes.

Serves 6.

An After Thought on Tortillas: My Mexican market has great baby corn tortillas made by Atotonilco Tortilleria. They are substantially smaller than regular corn tortillas and are great portion control when you are cooking a recipe such as carnitas.

A little bite goes a long way for me…at least most of the time!

Bon Appetit!