Ah, carnitas – those melty, tender, bits of pig cooked in its own juices. I do love them and continue to refine my recipe. This version uses slightly larger chunks of pork shoulder than I normally use, then simmered in citrus juice until the fat renders and the meat starts to get all brown and crispy. The pickled onions are a common Mexican garnish and really add a tangy compliment to the meat.
2 boneless pork shoulder roasts (aka Boston Butt), about 14 pounds
Juice of 3 oranges (about 1 cup)
Juice of 2 limes (about 4 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground cumin
I set my Big Green Egg up for an 8 hour cook over indirect heat at 300°F. I used the plate setter with a trivet on it to diffuse the heat and keep the bottom from burning.
While the BGE was heating up, I cut the pork into big (4-inch) chunks, discarding any nasty pieces of connective tissue, but keeping all of the fat.
I combined all of the ingredients into a 12-quart Dutch oven, put the oven on the grill and let it simmer for an hour. I gave it a stir and then let it go for another hour. I kept checking and stirring once an hour until most of the liquid had evaporated and the pork had started to fry in its own fat (about 5 hours). Then I checked it every 15 minutes to make sure it was getting crispy, but not becoming dry or burned. Total cook time was just over 6 hours.
1 red onion, halved lengthwise, ends removed, and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
Salt and pepper to taste
I put the onions in a saucepan, added just enough water to cover, and boiled until tender (about 1 minute). I remove them from heat, rinsed with cold water, and drained.
I put the onions in a plastic container, added the lime juice and vinegar, and seasoned to taste with a couple of grinds of black pepper and about a teaspoon of kosher salt. I sealed the container and stored it in the fridge for about an hour before serving.