Carnitas

Carnitas Pulled PorkOver the course of the past couple of weeks, I have been making a slow cooked pork shoulder. This is not just your typical slow cooked, pulled pork, this my friends, is carnitas. Think of it as the mexican style pulled pork. Now I state ‘over the past couple of weeks’. Why? Because both my wife and I love it so much, it is hard to escape the thought. The beautiful thing is that once you are done braising the pork shoulder for roughly 4 hours, it gets pulled apart, and then cooked in an oven for nearly 15 minutes at 375 degrees. My mouth is watering just thinking about it, so lets get started.

Ingredients:

  • 4-6lb pork shoulder (whole, with fat trimmed)
  • 3 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 cup of salsa verde
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oregano
  • Cumin Powder
  • Fresh Cilantro

Carnitas Pulled PorkFirst start by admiring your pork shoulder. It’s a thing of beauty is it not? Kidding aside, take the pork shoulder and season generously with salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin. You can blend roughly 3 tsp of each into a small bowl, then rub into the meat if you want as well. Keep in mind that we are going to let this shoulder marinate and get happy in a ziplock bag overnight. Once the shoulder is seasoned, place in a large ziplock back, and add in the quartered onions to surround the meat.

The next day, give yourself nearly four hours to let this braise. This is a great Sunday meal, and awesome for leftovers. In a large pot, put in your shoulder, the onions that you had in the bag, and add to this the salsa verde and the chicken stock. Bring this up to a boil on medium-high heat, then cover, and reduce to a simmer for the remaining time.

Carnitas Pulled PorkCareful to remove the shoulder onto a cutting board. If this falls apart, get excited, as this is the beauty of the shoulder as well as the braising process. With two forks, pull the pork apart, and discard any of the strange fatty pieces that you might not want to eat.

Now, with your shredded pork, you can do a few things. Reserve some for barbecue sandwiches, or add it to a baking sheet and cook in the oven so it all gets a bit crispy. Welcome the carnita. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees, and cook for roughly 15 minutes. When you are ready, place the meat in fresh corn tortillas and make your favorite taco, or if you are wanting something even better, go for the chimichanga.

Watch for my post later in the week for the burrito that is seriously going to compete with Chipotle or Qdoba. It’s all good.

The Potsticker

Pot Sticker - GyozaI realize that most of my ingredients and flavors are surround by Asian cultures, and there is a reason for that. The freshness of the ingredient, the intense flavors, and the simplicity of the cook time. Today I am focusing on the pot sticker, otherwise know as the gyoza. I have been making these for many years and they truly are delicious. The process contains meat marination, wrapping, and cooking these little morsels, similar to the egg roll process. I was turned onto these dumplings while eating Dim Sum, and figured out my own pot sticker from that point on.
Ingredients:

  • Ground Pork
  • Shallots or green onions, thinly sliced/chopped
  • Roasted Sesame Oil (dark)
  • Sherry Cooking Wine
  • Pepper
  • Chinese Cabbage (Savoy)
  • Chopped Ginger
  • Water for wrapping
  • Chicken broth or water for steaming
  • Small amount of oil (vegetable or canola)
  • Gyoza Wrappers (found in many Asian markets)

For the non-meat eater, please note that you can substitute meat for vegetables as well.

Pot Sticker - GyozaOnce you have the meat mixture marinated with above ingredients, excluding the wrappers, let it marinade for nearly thirty minutes to a hour. Once ready, place about a tablespoon of the meat mixture into the middle of the wrapper, and be mindful that you want to make a tight seal of the wrapper, so do not get too close to the edges. Brush water along the half-side of the moon-shaped wrapper, fold over and seal. Move onto the next twenty or fifty.

Once you are ready, heat a large pan of about one tablespoon of the oil and disperse throughout the pan. The goal is to lightly coat the pan with oil as we want to go through a light fry process on both sides, amounting to about 2-3 minutes on each side. Once lightly browned on each side, add your water or chicken broth, about a 1/4 to a 1/2 cup, cover, and let steam until the liquid almost evaporates.

Pot Sticker - GyozaThat’s it. Plate and serve. You can do a few things with these at this time. Add them to a broth, a few glass noodles, and serve as a soup, or my favorite which is dipping them into the gyoza sauce, or a chili sauce, or heck, simply eat them alone as the flavor itself is so good.

If are are wanting to make the sauce, it is really easy:

  • 1/3 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/4 of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Srirachi hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • Garlic or ginger is optional

Filipino Barbecue

I will be the first to admit that when my wife made this for me, it was wonderful. Anyone who knows me knows that I will do my own little twist to a recipe, enhance it, if you will. This recipe stems from my wife’s upbringing. In her house, barbecue is the dish. It was not chicken, ribs, or anything else you might expect as barbecue. When they talk barbecue, it means meat on a stick, and it is something amazing.

Filipino Barbecue Recipe

This recipe is way too simple, and it is awesome served with beer, rice, papaya salad, potato salad, or great on its own.

  • Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt (need a little fat), thinly sliced
  • 1 head of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup of soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Wooden skewers (soaked for one hour or more)

Keep in my that this meat will end up on bamboo skewers so you will not want chunks of meat, and you will want thin slices of meat, possibly a 1/4 inch thick. Depending on the amount of pork and barbecue you are making, this process can take some time. Once you are done slicing, add the garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, pepper, and green onions to a large bowl, and whisk until the brown sugar is dissolved. Add in your pork, and toss to make sure all of the meat is coated.

I use a zip lock bag for this next step because I typically marinate the meat for 12-24 hours.
Add the meat to the bag and place in the refrigerator.

Once you are ready, sew them onto the skewers, about three slices per skewer. Heat  your grill, and cook the pork. You know when the sugars start to melt into the meat, become one, and look heavenly.

Keep in mind that these will go fast and trust me, you and your family are just going to love them. Enjoy.