Saturday, March 5, 2011

Coke-Braised Pork Carnitas Tacos

I love tacos.  What is it about them?  mmm...  While I was browsing through a Bon Appetit magazine, I saw a recipe for Coke-Braised Pork Carnitas.  Sounds like a good taco filling to me.  Sure enough, the pork just fell apart when it came time to shred it.  The flavor was great, and my husband said, "There's not a shred of pork flavor.  It's great!"  Sometimes, I'm not too keen on the flavor or pork either.  This pork comes out sweet and tender.  It's just right with pico de gallo and cheese.

 Coke-Braised Pork Carnitas:
4 pounds pork shoulder
10 c vegetable oil
4 c orange juice
2 1/2 c coca-cola

Corn tortillas
pico de gallo or other salsa
Monterey Jack cheese
sour cream
guacamole

Trim the giant globs off fat off of the pork.  I think it took two pounds off the pork by the end of my meat-trimming escapade.  Either way- huge chunks of fat are nasty.  Cut the pork into 3x3 inches cubes and brown in vegetable oil.
Meanwhile, warm the remaining oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until it reaches 275 degrees.  Place the pork chunks in the oil and fry for 1 1/2 hours.  That is not a typo- 90 minutes.  The oil should drop down to about 220 degrees when you add the pork.  If it doesn't lower the heat until you can maintain the temperature of the oil between 200 and 220 degrees.

After the pork is done, remove it and place it in a saucepan.  
 Add the 2 c of coke and the orange juice.  Bring it to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until the meat is tender.
 Remove the chunks of meat and shred with two forks.  It should come apart very easily.
 Isn't that lovely?
 Prepare the tortillas by heating 1/2 c vegetable oil (or however much it takes to cover the bottom) over medium-high heat.  Place one tortilla at a time into the oil and fry for only about ten seconds per side.  You don't want it to get crispy at all.  Remove the tortilla to a paper towel to remove the excess oil.

Place whatever toppings you'd like in the tacos.
I like the Cafe Rio pork barbacoa better than this recipe, but it was worth a shot, and I'll definitely make it again.

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