Tomorrow I'm making carnitas for guests. Can I combine the Kennedy method with the "cook in lard" method for the best of both?

Basically, I'm worried my pork butt/shoulder won't have enough fat on it when I buy it tonight, so I'm wondering if I can use the genius Kennedy carnitas method, but with the water, add in some lard, maybe 1/2 lb-1 lb, to assure that it's moist and juicy when done. This is like combining the genius, water-only recipe with the "cook the pork in an equal amount of lard" approach. Is there any reason not to try this and think it will work out well? I've never made carnitas before and want to please our guests!



jenmmcd January 12, 2012
I've made this many times and I'd be careful about adding more lard. With the Kennedy method, the fat from the shoulder doesn't get drained off like it would if you cooked them in lard. Instead, it becomes part of the wonderful sauce and flavor of the meat. Adding more lard might make it... yucky is the only word I can think of. And don't get me wrong; I love me some lard. I haven't had a problem of not having enough fat in my meat.
Midge January 12, 2012
Definitely size up your pork shoulder before adding any more lard. I made this with one I bought at WF and I was surprised to find it had plenty of fat already, almost too much.
pierino January 12, 2012
Myself, I would brown the meat in lard at the beginning before adding liquid. By the way, lard is good! It will make your kitchen smell like a taco truck.
bigpan January 12, 2012
Ask your butcher for some extra slabs of fat.
SKK January 12, 2012
In Diana Kennedy's notes - Step 4 - she says "Notes: The meat will get more evenly cooked if the dish is rather large and shallow. Do not add too much water at the beginning or the meat will fall apart at the frying stage. If the meat is still fairly hard when the water has evaporated, then add a little more water and continue cooking. Choose pork that has a fair amount of fat or you will have to add some lard for it to brown properly"

If you need to add lard, do it at the final browning if you need to.

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