Our one and only son leaves for college in a week, so he put in a request for a family dinner before he takes off. When I asked him what he would like me to make, he didn’t hesitate for even a second before telling me Pork Tacos! Ever since he was little, he has lived on Mexican food! Some kids ask for hot dogs or macaroni and cheese as their comfort food, but his has always been burritos or tacos.
Our whole family got in on the fun last night as my sister is an excellent cook in her own right, my husband was helping with lighting and my sister’s significant other, Michael, is another foodie and was my personal “food stylist” helping set up the shots and make my plate look beautiful. He is also responsible for the “killer guacamole” that we quickly downed with our chips. Hopefully I will be able to convince him to give up his recipe so that I can share it here one of these days.
A number of years ago, Bon Appetit ran a special on regional Mexican dishes and I found this recipe for Crispy Pork which is the foundation of my pork tacos. The meat is so delicious that you really only need a little bit of thinly sliced cabbage, a bit of cilantro and a drizzle of avocado crema to complete this dish. Serve with your sides of your favorite guacamole, salsa & chips.
Crispy Pork Carnitas
Bon Appetit – May 2003
- 4 – 6 pounds boneless country style spareribs
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups orange juice
- Orange Zest from one orange
- 6 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 cup brandy (don’t skip this as it helps pork to properly crisp)
Cut spareribs into thirds removing any large chunks of fat, but leaving smaller bits and fat marbling intact. Put into deep 12″ skillet, add water, orange juice, zest, garlic and salt. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and continue to simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Make sure meat remains mostly submerged during this time, adding water by the 1/4 cup if necessary.
Remove lid, bring to boil and cook until liquid is absorbed by at least half (approximately 10 minutes). Add brandy and continue to cook until liquid is completely evaporated and pork begins to crisp. Remove and discard any remaining pieces of fat. Use wooden spatula or spoon to break pork apart and toss to prevent burning. This last step requires patience as it will take awhile for the liquid to completely evaporate and the fat to begin cooking away which allows the pork to crisp. Alternatively, you can remove the pork a baking sheet and throw under the broiler for a few minutes to achieve the crispiness, stirring frequently.
Pork can be reheated and crisped by adding a bit of water to frying pan and cooking over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- 1 ripe avocado, diced
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- Juice of one lime
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 tsp. salt
Puree avocado, buttermilk and lime juice in blender until very smooth. Transfer to bowl and stir in sour cream and salt. Transfer to squeeze bottle and let sit at least one hour for flavors to develop.