For Immediate Release
Coast Packing Celebrates Cinco de Mayo With Pork Tamales and Carnitas Two Ways
Offered by the West’s Leading Supplier of Animal Fat Shortenings, Lard is the Secret to Recipes for Mexican Classics
Cinco de Mayo, which marks the surprise defeat of Napoleon III in Mexico in 1862, has become a celebrated foodie holiday — but it’s no surprise that lard remains a staple of traditional Mexican cooking.
So says Coast Packing Company, the leading supplier of animal fat shortenings in the Western U.S., including the popular VIVA brand. “Lard brings out authentic flavors like nothing else,” said Eric R. Gustafson, CEO of the 95-year-old company. “We believe in minimally processed food, which is also why lard is such a mainstay of so many Mexican dishes, from freshly made tamales to long-simmering carnitas. Home-based cooks are always wise to avoid industrially-produced partially hydrogenated fats in favor of animal fat shortenings, which have the benefit of being consistently delicious and promoting health.”
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 2 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder
- 3 pounds lard
- 2 dozen corn tortillas
- Slice the pork into three-inch slabs. It’s important that they all end up roughly the same size, so they cook in the same amount of time.
- Toss the pork into a large bowl and then add the lime juice and salt. Stir the pieces until well coated. Cover the bowl and set aside for an hour. Toss the pieces twice over the course of the hour.
- Melt the lard in a large pot over medium heat.
- When the hour is up, carefully add the pork to the pot. The lard should cover the pieces. After a few minutes, very large and lazy bubbles will pop to the surface. This is good; you don’t want to have aggressive frying. Let cook on medium, flipping the pieces occasionally for even cooking, for about two hours. The meat should be very tender when pierced with a fork.
- Raise the temperature to medium-high. The lard will start bubbling furiously and make a lot more noise. Cook for 30 minutes.
- The meat should come out all nicely browned and golden. Set the pieces on a cutting board and let sit for 10 minutes or so.
- Meanwhile, fill the bottom of another pot with about a 1/2 inch of water and bring to a boil. Wrap the tortillas in a towel and set in a steamer basket atop the boiling water. Cover the pot.
- Cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and let sit for 15 minutes or so.
- Slice off a bit of the pork with a sharp knife, or pull the meat apart with a fork. You can even use your hands if you’re into it.
- Roll up a little meat in a taco, sprinkle on some salt, and top with whatever salsa you like the most. Keep it simple.
- A small to medium Dutch oven or a crock pot that can hold a temperature of about 285 degrees F.
- Two to three quarts of rendered pork fat (lard), depending on the size of your pork shoulder and crockpot (you want the pork completely covered). You can render your own lard with these instructions. You will need about 6 pounds of fat to yield 2 quarts of lard for this recipe.
- 4-5 pounds pork shoulder/butt (with or without bone in)
- 2 limes
- Sea salt
- Bunch of cilantro, washed.
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 whole cloves
- A few cloves of garlic, sliced in half
- 2-3 small oranges, cut into eighths
- Season the pork shoulder with juice of one lime, a generous sprinkling of sea salt, half the cilantro, bay leaves, garlic and whole cloves. Cover and refrigerate while rendering the lard for up to 24 hours.
- Preheat your oven to 285 degrees.
- Warm your rendered lard (if previously chilled to solid) until it is liquid.
- Place your whole seasoned pork shoulder in a small Dutch oven (the smallest you have to fit the meat, but still cover with liquid).
- Shove your orange slices around the sides of the pork.
- Pour the liquid lard over the pork and oranges until the meat is completely covered.
- Place the meat in the preheated oven with the lid on. Consider setting your Dutch oven on a lipped tray to catch any overflow of fat.
- Cook for 4-6 hours or until meat pulls apart easily with a fork.
- Remove from the oven and lift the meat out onto a dish, taking care not to burn yourself with the fat.
- Pull apart the meat into medium sized chunks, and fry in a large frying pan with the cooked oranges until desired crispiness is reached.
Save the used lard in the fridge (for a few weeks) or freezer (for much longer) for your next few batches of carnitas. The flavor of the seasoning stays in the fat, so each batch gets progressively more delicious!
- 2½ lbs. boneless pork butt
- 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 10 lbs. masa (cornmeal flour)
- 4 cups pork lard
- ¼ cup water
- 3 Tbsp. baking powder
- 2 oz. chile ancho, to color masa
- 6 dozen dried corn husks, for tamale assembly
- ½ lb. chile ancho
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- 2 cups water
- 2 Tbsp. pork lard
- 2 Tbsp. salt
- Place pork butt in medium-size stock pot. Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Add cold water to cover the pork. On high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and let it simmer partly covered for about 1 ½ to 2 hours. Remove pork from the stock and let it cool at room temperature. When cooking, begin shredding the meat into fine threads.
- In a large saucepan, boil the chile ancho for about 10-12 minutes or until softened. Drain the chiles and reserve the water. Rinse the seeds out of the boiled chiles. Put the chiles, garlic and cumin in a blender and blend well. Add the 2 cups of reserved water (stock saved from boiling the chile ancho).
- In a heavy, large-size saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons pork lard over medium high heat. Add the drained chile puree very carefully because it will splatter. Reduce the heat to low. Cook over low heat for about 10-15 minutes. Season chile sauce with salt. Take sauce off the heat. (Reserve about 2 ounces of this sauce to color the masa.) Combine the pork with the chile sauce.
- Place 10 pounds of masa in a large mixing bowl. Pour water and add the baking powder over the masa evenly. Add salt and begin mixing the masa with your hands. Add the pork lard and two ounces of chile ancho sauce (this adds color to the masa) and knead the masa once more. Masa is ready when it starts to feel thick and compact. Pad it down in bowl and set it aside.
- Soak the dried husks in warm water for about an hour and a half or until soft. Drain the husks well; pat dry with paper towels. For each tamale, spread about two tablespoons of the masa mixture on each cornhusk. Spoon two tablespoons of the filling lengthwise down the center. Fold husk and secure with strips of cornhusk.
- At this point, the tamales are ready to be steamed. Use a stock pot with wire lining or steamer insert. Add enough water as to keep it below the steamer. Add a few husks to prevent the tamales from getting wet. Tamales must be placed open side up along the inside perimeter of the stock pot. Place extra husks on top the tamales and cover the pot. Steam for about an hour or until the husk peels away from the masa easily. Serve warm or freeze after cooling.
About Coast Packing Company
Coast Packing Company (coastpacking.com), a closely held corporation, is the number one supplier of animal fat shortenings – particularly lard and beef tallow — in the Western United States. The company sells to major manufacturers, distributors, retailers, smaller food service operations, leading bakeries and lesser concerns. The company participates actively in various ethnic markets – from Hispanic retail chains, with its VIVA brand, to various Asian specialty markets. Based in Vernon, Calif., Coast Packing Company is regional, national and, increasingly, global. In some cases, supplier relationships are multigenerational, extending back 50 years and more.