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Pork Carnitas

carnitas

Pork carnitas is the recipe for this week. Easy to make at home and extremely versatile and tasty.

Pork carnitas, a Mexican dish, is a slow-cooked pork, usually pork butt. This meat is a shoulder piece, often called Boston butt, that has enough marbled fat running through it to make it juicy and delicious. One version of history reports, Campesinos (poor country farmers) prepared this delicacy in large copper pots, because of preparation time and the large quantity it made. It was often only made on special occasions, once or twice a year.

“Carnitas” literally means “little meats.” Prepared by slow cooking, this process breaks down the collagen and connective tissue in the meat and what’s left is extremely tender meat that falls apart into small pieces. Traditionally this meat was cooked in large amounts of lard, like being deep-fried. I’ve seen many recipes for carnitas with lots of steps, but this recipe I’m suggesting you try is easy and not a lot of work.

In my recipe, I don’t use any lard, as I certainly could use fewer calories. I don’t think it’s necessary as there’s no lack of flavor because of the lack of the lard. The natural marbled fat and juices from this piece of pork surely make it delicious.

 

I was educated by a friend about pork carnitas. It doesn’t need to be overly seasoned or spicy as it’s meant to be a base meat that you can add your own heat to with green or spicy chilies. Common toppings for carnitas are salsa, onions, beans, guacamole, tomatoes, and cheese, to name a few. Once finished, it’s great for many types of dinners. The traditional tacos, burritos, enchiladas, but try this also over white rice, toss with grilled vegetables, as wonton meat filling, or as an open-faced quesadilla with cheddar cheese melted on top. Any way you prepare it, it’s rich in flavor, easy to prepare, and oh so versatile.

DRY SEASONING RUB

INGREDIENTS

2 teaspoons granulated garlic

2 tablespoons Kosher salt (I like the big flakes to help season it correctly)

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

DIRECTIONS

Combine all dry seasonings and mix.

 

PORK CARNITAS

INGREDIENTS

4-5 pounds pork butt large chunk (I prefer boneless for ease)

2 cups salsa verde (I prefer the mild version of this ingredient, but you can use a spicier version if you can stand the heat)

1/4 cup water

DIRECTIONS

Using dry seasoning, rub the pork butt generously on all sides.

Place meat into a large crockpot, pouring salsa verde over the meat with 1/4 cup of water. Turn onto low and forget it for eight hours. (If crockpot lid isn’t really tight, increase water to 1/2 cup).

After eight hours, the meat has completely cooked and is ready to be forked apart (should be super tender). At this point, it’s ready to eat.

If you’re interested in getting authentic carnitas flavor after forking apart, turn the pork onto a sheet pan and place under broiler for five minutes or until crispy brown burnt crunchies appear and you’re ready to serve. Don’t forget: if you don’t want to do the work, it’s available at Butler’s all the time.

A simple recipe, and delicious. Hope you enjoy it.

Recipe by David Theiss Owner of Butler Gourmet Meats.


Slow Cooker 10-Bean Soup for Luck in the New Year

SIMPLE 10 BEAN SOUP

In every kitchen pantry on the bottom shelf hiding behind the bread machine or George Foreman grill, there is an appliance rarely used. Yes, it’s the Crock-Pot (or slow cooker). Pull it out, dust it off and I will give you ideas on how to slow cook soup.

 

The beauty of slow cooking soup in a slow cooker is that it does most of the work with very little preparation. Having the time to cook after a day’s work, sit down, and have dinner with your family, is always a challenge.

 

But, here’s a way to do so and still have the home-cooked meal with little effort.

 

Beans are one of the oldest foods known to man. Archeologists in Thailand have found evidence of pea cultivation dating back to 9750 B.C.

 

Peas and beans, even though broad in scope are both considered part of the legume family. Beans were found in Egyptian tombs dating back some 4,000 years.

 

Today, there are around 18,000 legume species, but only 14 are grown for human consumption.  No wonder beans were and are so important to the human diet.

 

Beans are the only food that fits into two groups on the USDA Food Guide Pyramid. Being both a vegetable and protein. They are high in complex carbohydrates, protein, and dietary fiber.

 

They are low in fat and sodium, cholesterol-free and rich in vitamins and minerals. Beans are a great part of a balanced diet. They are a natural source of folate, which studies have shown can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer. Beans can also improve glucose control in diabetes. Not to mention they’re just darn good.

 

This recipe for 10-bean soup has been created from years of making soup on a daily basis. Simple is always good. Years ago, my Aunt Rosemary Smith told me that making this 10-bean soup was part of a New Year’s tradition that brought good luck for the following year.

 

It really is as simple as adding the ingredients to the slow cooker and turning it on. If you are interested in changing to different beans or peas, this recipe also works well with split peas, lentils or navy beans.

 

I also encourage you to add other seasonings or vegetables. This gives you the opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind design. This recipe is delicious and comforting on a snowy evening, after the game or even after work. You come home and it’s ready. You can feel good about bringing your family to the table with a home-cooked meal instead of picking it up on the way, and it’s sure to be a hit.

 

What a better way to start the New Year.

 

SIMPLE 10 BEAN SOUP

Makes about 6 servings

1 16-oz. package of 10-bean soup mix (grab it at our store)

3 quarts cold water

1 T. garlic salt

1 T. chopped onion (dehydrated or raw)

¼ tsp. ground pepper

1 meaty ham hock (cubed ham or 4 thick-sliced bacon strips chopped into ½ inch pieces can be substituted)

 

TIP: Butler Meats prepackages their own variety of 10-bean soup mix as well as having the meaty ham hocks.

 

In a colander, rinse your beans and pick out any unwanted pieces. The beans are never prewashed as it defeats the purpose of the dehydration process before packaging. Add beans to a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Measure and add the rest of the listed ingredients. Stir, cover with the lid and place on low temp. You’re done.

 

Note: This recipe is made the night before and can be started before going to bed. Cooking time is between 16-24 hours. The larger the beans will be firm and tender, while the smaller ones cook down to thicken the broth. Serve with warm bread and enjoy.

 

Rice with sausage stuffing and traditional dressing

Tomato, “tomahto,” potato, “potahto,” stuffing or dressing or something like that. So, what’s the difference? Some say it’s whether or not it’s cooked in the turkey (ergo stuffing) or prepared outside the turkey and calling it dressing.

 

It has also been said anything south of the Mason-Dixon line is called dressing, as stuffing

sounds unpleasant. That may be the case, but this term is used all the time in cooking: stuffed chicken, stuffed pork chops, stuffed veal breast, etc.

 

While either term may be used interchangeably, they both bring a delicious side dish to mind, usually prepared with and associated with a special dinner.

 

History reveals to us it has been around for centuries with its first evidence in a Roman cookbook. In that time many foods were used for stuffing like seafood, rabbit, liver, brains, and little — if any — bread or starch.

 

A 13th-century cookbook had a recipe for a ram stuffed with small birds, and another recipe with a camel stuffed with sheep stuffed with bustards stuffed with carp stuffed with eggs. I guess making “turduckens” for holiday meals isn’t so bad then. Sounds like you’re feeding an army and lots of work.

 

Today’s stuffings are a little simpler, usually bread or rice with vegetables, seasonings and broth with maybe a few other simple ingredients. Of course, ingredients change regionally. Here’s a few I’ve seen that aren’t too crazy: apples, figs, squash, bacon, quite a few different kinds of sausages (from spicy to mild), cornbread, sourdough, onions, celery, rice, chestnuts, and oysters, to name a few.

 

I’m sure the debate will go on between stuffing or dressing, but one thing is for sure: They sure are delicious side dishes for any meal!

 

Today I have two recipes for you. One I always use and like, traditional and super simple, and one with rice and sausage our family has made for years.

 

RICE WITH SAUSAGE STUFFING

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups wild rice

4 cups chicken broth

1 yellow onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon ground sage

1/2 teaspoon ground thyme

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons salted butter

DIRECTIONS:

Start the rice first. Rice cookers work great. If using a pot, combine rice, all of the chicken broth and butter. Give it a quick stir, bring to boil, then turn down to a low simmer with the lid on — it takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

In a frying pan, cook sausage and crumble while cooking, just to get the red out. Scoop out the sausage, reserving the fat to sauté the onions and celery for about 8-10 minutes until translucent.

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, including rice and sausage, and fold over until well mixed. At this point, you may stuff the turkey cavity with the stuffing loosely and roast the turkey as usual. Or you can bake it in a baking dish in the oven separately by putting the stuffing in a 9-by-13-inch glass dish covered with foil and baking it for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

TRADITIONAL DRESSING

INGREDIENTS:

12 cups dry bread, cubed

1 yellow onion, chopped

2 cups celery, chopped in small pieces

2 tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground sage

1/2 teaspoon thyme

2 cups chicken broth

DIRECTIONS:

In a sauté pan, combine butter, onions, celery and a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté until translucent. Heat chicken broth. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and fold together until well mixed.

At this point, you could stuff the turkey cavity loosely and roast the turkey as usual or pour ingredients in a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish, covered with foil, and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

I hope you and your family enjoy each other and enjoy the gift of Thanksgiving.

Enjoy!

 

We have all the spices and seasonings you need for these two recipes and of course, you know we have you covered on sausage!

 

David Theiss is the owner of Butler Gourmet meats, serving Carson City since 1973.

 

Let’s Talk Thanksgiving Turkey

Buying a turkey for your holiday dinner can be confusing. We’ll answer the most important (and common) questions below about what you are getting.

 

Tom Turkey or Hen?

This depends on how many people you are inviting. Hen turkeys range from 8lbs. up to 18lbs. Toms range from 18lbs. up to 30lbs. The main difference is bone structure, there is more meat on a hen, versus a tom. As for the cooking differences, there are little, if any.

 

How Much? (click our chart below to download a copy).

Our recommendation is 2lbs. per adult (less for kids) to have moderate leftovers.

 

What Brand?

We suggest a Grade A, not injected or pumped, fresh not previously frozen then thawed to make “fresh” again turkey. Beware of the .29, .39, and .59 cent per pound turkeys, they may be cheap, but paying per pound for injected water, phosphates or salt add up on cost and decrease taste, and do not affect tenderness or moistness as claimed. We offer our premixed brine seasoning to enhance flavor and help with tenderness and moistness.

 

We at Butler Meats offer only Grade A turkeys that have never been injected with anything. You’ll find that our turkey will be the best you can find on the market – paired with our premixed brine mixture you’ll have the best turkey for your holiday dinners!

 

Call today to order your fresh non-injected turkey! 775-883-0211

 

Click on the images to download!

    

The Block

Recipe: Braised Short Ribs, by David Theiss