Pork Shoulder: A Tough Cut
Meat Key Doneness Temps
Low and Slow—In Oil
Confit is to deep fat frying what barbecue is to grilling. Low and slow versus fast and furious. —Kenji Lopez-Alt
More Tender and Juicy Through Science:
☼ Heat Capacity
☼ Repels Water
Heat Transfer: Water vs Oil
Given a set mass of oil and water at the same temperature, the oil will have about half the amount of energy as the water. Since the density of oil and water are nearly identical (oil clocks in at about 91 percent the density of water), foods cooking in a given volume of oil at a specific temperature will cook more slowly than food cooking in water at the exact same temperature. —Kenji Lopez-Alt, Serious Eats
Oil Key Temps
How to Cook Pork Carnitas
Water vs Oil: Cooking Speed
Pork Carnitas Recipe
- 2 medium onions
- 3 pounds (1.4 kg) boneless pork butt (shoulder), rind removed, cut into 2-inch cubes
- Kosher salt
- 1 medium orange
- 6 cloves garlic, split in half
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken into three or four pieces
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil
- Trim excess fat and cut pork into 2″ (5 cm) cubes. Season with 1 tablespoon salt and toss to coat. Refrigerate overnight.
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 275°F (135°C).
- Cut onion and orange into quarters.
- Place salted pork into a casserole dish or dutch oven so the pork fills the dish. Add onion quarters, garlic cloves, cinnamon stick pieces, bay leaves, squeeze orange juice over pork and add the orange pieces to the dish.
- Place the ChefAlarm® needle probe into the center of a thick cube of meat and set the ChefAlarm’s high alarm to 200°F (93°C). Pour the 1/4 cup (60 ml) vegetable oil over the surface of all the ingredients. Cover casserole dish or dutch oven tightly with aluminum foil and place in the oven.
- Allow to cook until the ChefAlarm sounds—the cook will take approximately 3 to 3-1/2 hours. Remove dish from the oven (rather than keeping the oven door ajar and losing heat) and spot-check the internal temperature of a couple pieces of meat with a Thermapen® to be sure all pieces have reached 200°F (93°C). Allow meat to rest in its cooking liquid for about 30 minutes.
- Remove orange peel, onion, garlic, cinnamon stick and bay leaves from the pork. Pour the pork and liquid through a strainer and allow to drain for 10 minutes. Return the pork to the dish and add some of the drained fat back to the pork.
- Shred the pork with fingers or two forks and season with salt to taste. At this point, the meat can be covered and refrigerated for up to three days and finished right before serving.
- To finish the shredded pork, preheat oven to high broiler setting. Put the meat onto an aluminum foil-lined sheet pan and place about 4 inches below the broiler and broil until brown and crisp on the surface—about 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir the pork around a little bit to expose bits that aren’t brown yet, place back under the broiler for another 6 minutes until crisp. Remove from the oven and tent with aluminum foil to keep warm.