So…I feel like I don’t need to say much about this recipe except…tequila carnitas. Which translates literally to Drunken Pork.
I dunno. It’s tequila carnitas! How much better could things get?
The amazing Ciarra Hannah of Popular Paleo is oh-so-generous in sharing the FULL recipe for tequila carnitas from the NEW Frugal Paleo Cookbook with my readers.
I’m LOVING The Frugal Paleo Cookbook, and of course, I LOVE Ciarra (meet her in our Real Food Liz Radio interview)! Ciarra is all about saving money, enjoying real food, repurposing leftovers, and NOT eating food that sucks.
The Frugal Paleo Cookbook is perfect for those who want simple recipes that pack amazing, robust, nutritious, grain-free, crap-free, family-friendly, easy-to-make, happy mouth flavors…WITHOUT needing to make ten special trips to the gourmet grocer for fancy ingredients. Like midget lemonysnickets or pulverized saffron flour.
Back to the tequila carnitas. Don’t worry. The tequila cooks off. But it leaves tender meat and deeper flavor in its wake. Which is more than I can say I get from a night of drinking tequila. So. There’s that. But what about the eternal question, pondered by the likes of Galileo and Socrates and me: is tequila Paleo-approved?
(Just kidding. I’ve never pondered that question.)
Ciarra says “The short answer is yes. Any variety other than “Joven” or “young” tequila will do, since that particular one is flavored with caramel and is likely not gluten-free. Otherwise, “resposado” and “anejo” tequila comes from a plant, is gluten-free and contains no added sugars or artificial ingredients. That, my friends, gets tequila on the Paleo-friendly ingredient list and therefore into my Dutch oven with a hunk of pork and a twist of lime.”
- Pork shoulder
- 3 lbs (1.3 kg) pork shoulder, boneless
- 1 batch Taco Seasoning Blend (see below)
- 1 tsp (5 g) kosher salt
- 2 to 3 tbsp (30 to 45 g) lard or coconut oil
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 large jalapeño, seeded and fined minced (about 1/4 cup/45 g)
- juice of two limes, about 1/2 cup (118 mL)
- 1 cup (237 mL) pure tequila (gluten-free, no added sugars)
- 1/2 cup (118 mL) water
- Fresh cilantro and additional lime wedges, for garnish
- Taco Seasoning Blend
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- Cut the pork shoulder into four or five even chunks and coat with Taco Seasoning Blend, plus the kosher salt.
- Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and melt the lard or coconut oil (though lard is my favorite). Drop in the seasoned pork and sear the sides. If the spices are starting to burn, reduce the temperature just a bit. It’s also a good idea to work in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. If too many chunks of meat go in together, the result will be steaming, not searing. Not pretty.
- Once seared, return all meat to the pan, drop in the onion, garlic and jalapeño. Lightly mix the ingredients, but make sure the pork gets priority at the bottom of the dog-pile.
- Next pour in the fresh lime juice, tequila, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the temperature to a simmer and cover.
- Let the pork braise on the stovetop for 2 hours, or until the pork falls apart easily when gently pressed with the back of a fork.
- Remove the Dutch oven from the heat, shred the pork (discard any fatty bits) and mix together with the juices. Scoop all the pork out, transfer to a baking dish and pop it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up the carnitas. Just eyeball it.
- Pour the remaining braising liquid over the carnitas and serve with fresh cilantro and a few lime wedges for squeezing. Other toppings that go great with carnitas are avocado, sliced radishes, finely diced red onion and even fresh pineapple, if you’re feeling adventurous.