Hugo's Wild Hog Carnitas
August 15, 2016
On typical big-game hunts, it's not often your guide wants you to keep shooting additional animals, but that's just what Hugo, my barrel-chested, bandito-'stached guide, was encouraging me to do on a hog hunt last summer.
"Let's go find you another peeeg," he said as we were loading up two meat hogs I'd just put down with well-placed shots of Winchester Razorback XTs to their respective ear holes.
When I told him I had all the carne I could handle, he replied, "That's okay. I'll call some amigos over, and we'll have a barbecue in the backyard and drink some cervezas."
That was a plan I couldn't argue with, so we hopped in Hugo's old Ford, the one with the broken door handle and cracked windshield, and rattled around the South Texas ranch looking for another peeeg, preferably a belted one because Hugo insisted they made the best carnitas.
2 Hatch green chiles
3 lbs. pork roast, cut into chunks
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. cinnamon
Juice from four oranges (about ½ cup)
Juice from two limes (a little less than ¼ cup)
Water to cover
1 tbs. canola oil
Two red peppers, sliced
One medium onion, sliced
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Roast green chiles over a hot grill until skin starts to blister and blacken. Transfer peppers to brown paper bag and let steam about 5 minutes. Remove chiles from bag and carefully peel away the skin. Destem, slice chiles in half, and remove the seeds.
In a Dutch oven or other heavy pot, toss pork with salt, cumin, and cinnamon.
Add sliced green chiles and stir in citrus juices.
Add just enough water to cover. Set heat to medium-high and bring liquid just to the boiling point.
Lower heat, cover, and simmer until pork shreds easily with a fork, about two hours.
When pork is tender, remove lid and raise heat to medium. Simmer until liquid evaporates.
The pork will start to fry in the remaining fat. Stir often, until exterior of the pork is crisp.
Meanwhile, heat canola oil in a skillet set over a medium-high burner. When oil is shimmering, add sliced onions and sauté.
When onions are soft, add red pepper slices and cook until crisp-tender, about five minutes.
Serve carnitas with onion-pepper mix and sprinkle with fresh cilantro. Best enjoyed with warm tortillas and cold cervezas.