This was a pleasant surprise. I wanted to try out making carnitas but didn’t want to commit to buying a huge piece of pork shoulder and a lot of lard and spending tons of time. I think the worst feeling when cooking something that takes that much commitment for the first time is when it doesn’t come out right and you gotta eat all of it. Since this recipe is on a smaller scale, it’s a nice little test before you take the plunge.
I was at the market and took a look at the pork shoulders (that weren’t for sale) and saw how massive it was. The thought that came to my mind is, “that’s a lot of pork sandwiches, tacos, fried rice, noodles, and etc. I have to eat when I cook this up.”
Now a slight turn of my head to the right and I see cheap packages of rib tips. Rib tips got cheap because of Memorial Day and ribs where a hot ticket item. The tips are the part of the ribs that usually don’t get cooked with the ribs because of the time it takes and is usually discarded for the perfection of BBQ making.
Now the elephant in the room… lard. Yeah, it’s not the healthiest, but it’s good and cheap. Since I rather ration my cooking oil, I picked up a brick of Farmer John’s manteca (aka lard) for under $2. The market I usually go to has bigger bricks but I didn’t need them that big.
The recipe is simple, it just takes time.
Rosemary and Thyme Carnitas-Style Rib Tips (Serves 2) Prep time: At least 1 hour, overnight preferred. Cook time: 4 hours
Rib tips: 1 1/2 pounds
Salt and pepper
Fresh rosemary: 1 sprig
Fresh thyme: 3 sprigs
Lard: (Or vegetable oil) Enough to cover to meat
Clean off the rib tips with water to clean off any bone fragments from butchering. Place in a bowl and season both sides with salt and pepper and cover. It’s a simple dry brine. Place in the fridge for at least an hour but overnight would be best. This wouldn’t be the best “same day” recipe because there’s too much to do all in one day. Just season and throw in the fridge for tomorrow.
Grab your slow cooker and throw the marinated rib tips in along with rosemary, thyme, and lard and set to high for about 4 hours. This is what they (professionals) consider confit. You can get away without the herbs and just do salt and pepper, but why would you want to?
I’m gonna be honest with you guys, it won’t look great out of the slow cooker but will taste awesome.
You could just stop right here and eat with what ever you like. Rice and vegetables would be my go-to.
I didn’t stop there. I let the meat cool first so the meat can set so it doesn’t fall apart when I cut them up. I cut the strips of rib tips in 3″ pieces (or every two bones) and heated up the wok with some of the cooking lard under medium heat and fried the pieces until brown.
Now that I liked how this turned out, I’m more confident about making more.