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Carnitas Michoacan

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“There are many variations on this classic Mexican pork dish. This is the way my ex, who is from Michoacan, prepares it. We served this in our Mexican restaurant and it was a BIG hit! The nice thing about making it daily for the restaurant was that we could reuse both the cooking water and the lard multiple times, which multiplied the flavor! It's very simple to make. The short list of ingredients doesn't make for bland eating here! Substitutions can be made for the lard, but the result won't be quite the same. I think it has to do with the sensitivity of the various fats to heat, but frankly I'm not sure. This is NOT a low fat food! In fact, we refer to it as a "cholesterol nightmare," so we eat it seldom, but we REALLY enjoy it when we do!”

Ingredients Nutrition

  • 4 lbs pork roast (butt or shoulder)
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 12 lb bacon
  • 2 lbs lard


  1. If the roast has skin or bone, leave them on. Rinse the roast and place in a large pot. Add enough water to barely cover.
  2. Chop the onion into large pieces (about 8) and add to the pot. Add the salt.
  3. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and simmer until the roast is tender, but not quite falling apart, about 2 hours.
  4. Remove the roast and drain, discarding the onion. Remove any skin or bones. Cut or separate into large cubes of about 4 inches.
  5. Put the lard in a heavy pot, melt and raise to a medium-high temperature. Test the temperature by dropping in a slice of bacon. It should boil immediately and take about 2 minutes to cook.
  6. Cook all of the bacon in the lard, remove it and set it aside for another use. (This step is to flavor the lard).
  7. Add the pork cubes a few at a time to the lard. Cook until they are starting to get crispy on the outside. I prefer to remove them when they are roughly halfway between totally crispy and not crispy at all, but that's a matter of personal preference.
  8. Drain the pork, and salt if desired.
  9. Use the carnitas for tacos, burritos or by itself with sides of rice and beans.
  10. The lard can be cooled and reused. Store it in the refrigerator and smell before reusing. If stored too long, even in the refrigerator, it will go rancid.

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