Marinated overnight and then slow-cooked, these tender carnitas are perfect for your next fiesta. From the menu of Cha Cha's Latin Kitchen in Brea.
Chef Peter SerantoniCha Cha's Latin Kitchen
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8 lb. boneless pork butt
3 1/2 tbsp. Cha Cha Spice Mix (recipe follows)
1 1/2 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. ground black pepper
5 cups cola
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
Juice from 2 oranges (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (stems only)
2 tbsp. chopped fresh garlic
1 cup canola oil
For Cha Cha Spice Mix: Combine 3 tbsp. paprika; 1 1/2 tbsp. each kosher salt, dried oregano, dried granulated garlic and ground black pepper; 1/2 tbsp. each white pepper and cayenne pepper; and 1/2 tsp. cumin. Mix well and store in an airtight container. (Also great for seasoning beef and poultry.)
For carnitas: Cut pork into large chunks and dust with spice mix, salt and pepper. Combine cola, juices, soy sauce, cilantro and garlic. Pour over pork and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
Remove pork from marinade and reserve marinade. Place oil in braising pan over medium heat until smoking. Add drained pork one piece at a time (be careful not to splash hot oil) and brown for 20 minutes. Add marinade, cover and simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until meat is tender and dark brown. (An alternate method is to place browned pork with marinade in a roasting pan, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 2 to 3 hours or until meat is tender and juicy.)
Remove pork and set aside. Strain and reserve braising liquid for another use, skimming off fat if needed. Serve carnitas with warm flour and/or corn tortillas, salsas and guacamole.
Serves 6 to 8