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Beer-Braised Carnitas

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Mexico’s “little meats” are culinary alchemy at its most wicked. Fatty hunks of pork simmer in a citrusy bath until the meat is meltingly tender and the liquid is nearly gone, and they begin to—well, there’s no being coy about it—caramelize in their own fat. The result is a heap of flavor-packed shredded pork that is, wondrously, both tender and crispy. Enrich the braising liquid with a bottle of an orangey witbier, and you’ll have little flavor bombs that are irresistible in tacos, atop nachos or folded into a brilliant riff on hash.

Makes: 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder or butt, cut in 112-inch chunks
  • 1 12-ounce bottle witbier
  • 13 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 12 medium onion, peeled
  • 5 large garlic cloves, slightly crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 12 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf


1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy Dutch oven. Season with 1½ teaspoons kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper; add enough water just to cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until tender, about 1½ hours. Uncover, raise heat to medium, and cook until liquid has largely evaporated, about 30 minutes more.

2. Remove and discard onion, garlic and bay leaf. Continue cooking pork, turning pieces from time to time, until caramelized and falling apart, about 20 minutes more. Serve with tortillas and toppings, as desired.


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