This is an awesome recipe for making Mexican street pork. I understand that the lard might be a sticking point for some; however, we’ll talk more about that later.
When I’m south-of-the-border, places like Los Mochis and El Fuerte have some of the best street pork I have ever eaten. And each one of these street vendors has a large copper cazo, full of cooking pork. Scrummy.
3I made this recipe 3 times (over the course of about 18 or so hours), and I did make changes with each evolution of the dish. The photograph of the ingredients shows a whole orange and a whole lime, and by the third time through, I reduced the lime and orange by half. I just didn't want you to look at the image, and think you were seeing double. :-)
4Trim the fat off the pork butt, and cut into thick cubes, about 1.5 inch (4cm).
5Chef's Tip: You want thick cubes from 1.5 - 2 inches (4 - 5 cm). Anything smaller, and they will fall apart over the long braising time.
6Place a rack in the bottom position, and preheat the oven to 275f (135c).
7Chef’s Note: Okay, let’s talk about that lard…
Andy, 1 pound of lard, are you FREAKING CRAZY?!?
Well, I’ve been accused of a lot of things; including being pretentious, but before you get out the pitchforks and torches, let me explain. First of all lard is made from pork fat, and we’re using pork. The pork does not retain the fat from the lard; as a matter of fact, it releases much of its own fat into the braising liquid. So, the pork winds up coming out of the braising liquid with less fat than it went in with...
Pretty amazing, isn’t it.
There are other, very good, methods for making street pork, but this recipe gives you an authentic taste that you cannot get any other way.
8Add all the ingredients for the braising liquid, into an ovenproof pot that has a tight-fitting lid. Place the pot over medium heat, and mix the ingredients together, as the braising liquid warms up, about 4 minutes.
9Add the pork, and combine.
10Cover and place into the oven for 5 hours.
11Chef’s Note: No peeking, just let that nice slow heat do its job.
12After 5 hours, remove the pot from the oven.
13Remove the pork using a slotted spoon or a spider, and discard the braising liquid, and the veggies.
14Place the pork in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat.
15Chef’s Tip: Some people put the pork under a broiler, but that will only dry it out. You need the searing heat of a pan to crisp the pork without drying it out.
16Cook until the pork begins to crisp on the bottom, but not burn.
17Chef’s Note: If you wish, you can crisp the other side of the pork, but traditionally it is only crisped on one side.
18Chef's Note: On my first run-through on this part of the recipe, I allowed the pork to brown too much. Keep an eye on the pan...
The difference between nice and brown, and just plain burned is less than 30 seconds....
No pressure :-)
20Place the pork into a large bowl, and then serve with warm tortillas, and rice. How about your favorite salsa, and some fresh sour cream. And don't forget to squeeze a bit of lime juice over the pork... So yummy.
21Keep the faith, and keep cooking.
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