It’s been a long and tiresome year. I’ve been thinking about my “comeback” recipe after what feels like forever – trying to think up the just right recipe that reestablishes who I am, what I do, and why I love sharing myself and my recipes here on Bell and Basket.
But my perfectionism has caused a level of debilitating paralysis. I can blame it on a year filled with grief, loss and loneliness but on top of that, I had a kid and became a mother (and it brought me SO much joy, but this just isn’t the post for that). So this hasn’t just been time away to think about the work I’d like to do here but a monumental transition in my life on top of a year filled with so much unpredictable change.
My husband was laid off. We moved to our house upstate. My career was changing underneath my feet and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I’ve said yes to everything because I’ve felt like I couldn’t say no. And now, I’m exhausted.
So humor me for a moment. It’s a warm early summer day with a crisp breeze. One of those days where you say, “we’re only going to get a few of these.” A day where the oven is on, the windows are open and the cross draft is blissful.
I yell, “come eat!” and friends make their way up to the picnic table to make their own tacos. Beautiful pulled pork, chopped white onions, lots of cilantro, guac, lime and charred around the edges corn tortillas. Kids run around and cold seltzers flow.
This carnitas style pork butt recipe is for that day. It’s super tasty, satisfying and feeds a crowd. In my current reality I can make it between Zoom calls and it lasts all week long. My husband loves it. My kid shovels it. It even freezes well.
And although the cooking time is long and grueling it is very worth the multitude of meals it makes. Pulled pork sandwiches, tacos, burrito bowls. Throw it on top of polenta, instant ramen, or greens. I hope you make this to alleviate some of that every day cooking fatigue and when we can gather again, I hope you’ll come over for a kick ass taco party.
The Recipe: Carnitas Style Slow Roasted Pork Butt
This recipe is for an 8lb, bone in pork butt. If your pork butt is anywhere between 6 and 8 pounds, I’d stick to the measurements below to pack lots of flavor. If you have a smaller than 6lb cut of meat, you can halve this recipe.
Cook time: 8-10 hrs low and slow at 250 degrees
Prep time: 30 min
Serves 8-10 people
- 7-8 lb bone in pork butt
- 2 large yellow onions, diced
- 12 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp coarse ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 cup of orange juice (I’ve also used the juice of a lemon, a few tablespoons of brown sugar and enough water to make a cup of liquid in a pinch)
Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
Start by washing your pork butt and patting it dry with paper towels. Set aside on a cutting board, fat cap face up.
Dice your onions and place in the bottom of the roasting pan. Make sure your roasting pan is at least 2 inches deep as there will be some yummy pork fat and juices that collect while the meat roasts.
Chop your garlic and set in a small bowl. Add spices to the bowl and give it a good mix.
Stab 1 inch slits into the fat cap with a paring knife. Roll up your sleeves and massage the garlic and spice mixture into your pork butt. Get it really good and coated, top, bottom and sides.
Place the pork butt on top of the onions in the roasting pan. Slowly pour the orange juice all over the pork.
Cover the meat in foil and roast in the oven for 1 hour per pound – so in this case 8-10 hours.
After 8 hours, the pork should be tender enough to pull apart with two forks. If it’s not, put it in for another hour and check it. If still no luck, let it go an hour longer (every cut of meat is different and every oven is different). For the last 20 minutes, cook uncovered and crank the heat up to 375 degrees so the pork gets crispy.
Let it cool for a half hour or so and pull all of the pork off the bone and toss to coat with the juices and cooked down onions. Discard the bone.
When reheating, get a pan nice and hot so the pork crisps up around the edges. Throw a taco party, make pulled pork sandwiches or enjoy this any way you like.