Anyone who has ever shared a hunting camp with me knows that I am all about eating well. But, since hunting camp is also about hunting, quite often there is little time for prepping and cooking a large meal.
To that end, I try to do as much prep as possible at home prior to the trip. Easy Camp Carnitas is a recipe that allows me to put in a bit of time at home so that dinner can be whipped up quickly and easily while other camp chores are taken care of.
So what is a carnita, you ask? Carnitas are pork tacos, traditionally slow braised till the pork falls apart and seasoned with Mexican spices, pepper and citrus juice. Since there normally isn’t time to braise a pork shoulder all day at camp, I smoke them beforehand at home, pull the meat, and store in a one-gallon zip style bag for the trip. Simply coat the pork with your favorite BBQ rub and smoke for five to six hours or until it reaches 200 degrees. Remove the pork from the smoker, wrap in foil, and rest for an hour or two before pulling.
By precooking your pork, either wild or domestic, you can cut the cooking time from all day to an hour or so. Dice the bacon and store in a plastic container or zip-style bag and mix the seasonings before leaving. The more you can do at home, the faster the prep time at camp.
A Lodge Dutch oven, suspended over the fire or just set nearby and stoked occasionally with a shovel full of coals, is the perfect vessel for Camp Carnitas. The heavy cast iron allows you to simmer the pork without scorching it and the tight-fitting lid helps to hold in moisture.
3 pounds smoked and pulled pork, wild or domestic
1 large onion, diced
2 (7 ounce) cans roasted diced green chile peppers
½ pound bacon
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups water or chicken broth
Flour or corn tortillas
Begin by adding the diced bacon to the Dutch oven. Stir for five to 10 minutes until the bacon begins to brown. Add the diced onion and cook another five to 10 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the pork and stir well to blend the onion and bacon throughout the pork.
Add the seasonings, bay leaves and two cups of water. Stir well and cover the pot with a lid. Simmer for 45-60 minutes. Uncover and squeeze the juice from both the limes and orange into the meat. Mix well and serve on warm tortillas. Add your favorite toppings and enjoy.
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