Beer Braised Carnitas Tacos

I'm headed out to Miami on the red eye tonight, and I can't wait for some sunshine and warm weather. The weather in San Francisco has been rain, rain and more rain lately. I can't really complain because we're spoiled all year, but it still sucks. 

I mentioned before that we're taking my sister on a mini-bachelorette weekend, and the time has finally come. I'm sure we'll be posting lots of pics because it's going to be glorious. 

So, before I leave, here is an all-star taco recipe. By far the best version of carnitas I've ever made. It's all in the beer.

Beer Braised Carnitas Tacos
makes enough for about 12 tacos

3-4 lb. boneless pork shoulder
1 yellow onion (diced)
6 cloves garlic (sliced)
1 4 oz. can diced green chilies
1 can beer
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
spices (cumin, coriander, paprika, ancho powder, chipotle powder, Mexican oregano)
1 bay leaf
1 lime (zest & juice)
salt & pepper
grapeseed or canola oil

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. 
Let the pork come close to room temperature before cooking, for about 1 hour. Make sure to trim excess fat off of the pork before you start. Save a little bit of that excess fat. Salt and pepper the pork generously on all sides.

In a large Dutch oven, turn the heat to medium and drop in a few pieces of that pork fat with a tbsp of oil and let the fat melt. Once melted, crank up the heat to high. Drop the pork in, with the fattiest side down and let it sizzle away for about 4 minutes, until browned. Repeat the process on all sides of the meat. Once done, remove from heat. Your kitchen will probably get super messy from splattering oil, unless you have a splatter screen. Get one.

Lower heat to medium and add onion, garlic and green chilies. Let cook for about 5 minutes, until onions are soft. Deglaze the pan with the can of beer, scraping any leftover bits on the bottom of the pan. Now add a healthy dash of each spice (not too much of the chipotle though), the chicken broth, bay leaf, lime zest and juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.

Once simmering, drop the pork with all the accumulated juices into the simmering sauce. Cover and pop into the preheated oven. Turn the pork over in the juices once or twice during the cooking process. Let the pork cook for 3 hours, covered the whole time. 

Remove from oven and bring pork to a cutting board. Remove any large pieces of unpleasant looking fat, and shred the rest with a fork. Spoon some of the liquid onto the pork, and you're ready for taco assembly.

for the pickled red onion:
1/4 red onion (thinly sliced)
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup water
pinch salt
pinch sugar

Bring vinegar, water, salt and sugar to a slow simmer, and turn off heat once simmering. Pour liquid over sliced onions and pop into the fridge for 30 minutes. 

Assemble tacos using your favorite toppings. I made mine with fresh cilantro, Greek yogurt, pickled onions and a squeeze of fresh lime.

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