Carnitas is a delicious preparation of small chunks or bits of pork. Many cuts are used to different effect. The classic preparation for carnitas, says paulj, is a long simmer in lard. The alternative is to simmer the pork in a lightly flavored broth until all the liquid disappears, then crisp it up in the remaining fat.

People in Mexico generally agree that the town of Uruapan in Michoacán sets the standard for carnitas, says Eat_Nopal. The pork is marinated in orange juice, garlic, and a little bit of piloncillo sugar, then braised in lard, and finally crisped on a griddle.

Carnitas isn’t required to be crispy and caramelized. But if it’s not crispy, it should be even more tender than the crispy version, says Eat_Nopal. Carnitas in the style of the Jalisco Highlands, for example, isn’t crispy at all—just tender and supple, with a deep, earthy, musky, almost floral flavor from the pork lard.

Uh … floral? It sounds weird, says Eat_Nopal, “but my wife who has a Master’s in Nutritional Sciences speculated that I may be detecting hormones which are often secreted during the slaughter.”

Board Link: Carnitas–crispy or no, chunks or shreds?

See more articles