Tuesday, May 13, 2008


"There are two things in the world you never want to let people see how you make 'em: laws and sausages." --- Leo McGarry from The West Wing.
My wife has prohibited me from making my own sausage. I won't go into the reasons for her edict, but a lot of it probably has to do with Mr. McGarry's above observation. Someday I will make my own sausage, and when I start learn the art of sausage making, I'll consult Bruce Aidells, the sausage king. I'll pick up his book on sausage making.

Since I'm barred from making sausage, I've spent time trying recipes from two other books written by Mr. Aidells: The Complete Meat Cookbook, and The Complete Book of Pork. He's a guy who knows how to cook a piece of meat, and both of these cookbooks are indispensable compendiums of recipes, various cooking methods, and information about various cuts of meats.

The carnita recipe is from The Complete Book of Pork. I love this recipe because it's flavorful, it's economical, it feeds a crowd, it freezes well, and it makes great leftovers. Also after the initial preparation, it requires very little effort, so while the pot simmers, I use my time to fix some great side dishes, like guacamole, pico de gallo, and salsa.


Spice Rub
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder

  • 3 pounds boneless Boston butt, cut into 1 2/2 inch pieces and trimmed of visible fat
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 large onion, diced

1. Make dry rub by combining all spices in a medium bowl.

2. In a bowl toss pork and coat with dry rub. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

3. In a dutch over or deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. In small batches, brown the pork. When meat is browned, transfer to a plate, and continue cooking the remaining pieces.

4. In a small bowl, stir the vinegar with the honey until the honey dissolves. Stir in chicken broth and add mixture to the pot, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom.

5. Add the onion and bring the liquid to a boil.

6. Lower the heat until the pot simmers.

7. Return pork to the pot, cover, and cooking until pork is fork-tender, 1 1/4 - 2 hours.

8. Remove the cover and increase the heat slightly to maintain a lively simmer. Continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated - about 30 minutes.

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