So… remember when you asked your grandmother for the recipe of your favorite dish and she said she did not have any? She would eyeball most of the ingredients and default all the laws of physics and, somehow, it all would work just fine in the end.  I hate to admit, but I am slowly becoming my Grandmother. I don’t have recipes for most of the things I make. That’s why I am writing this culinary journal. It is forcing me to write down those recipes. However, the task of writing down the recipe for the dry rub for my carnitas proved to be an impossible task for me. It was just too many ingredients to measure. So my advice to you is: eyeball it. All I know is that salt, unlike in other recipes, is not supposed to be the main ingredient, but rather distant fifth or sixth by volume. With that being said, I wish you good luck.


Yields a lot of carnitas


For the rub:

Smoked paprika, Hungarian paprika, hot chili, cumin, coriander, Mexican oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, your favorite no-salt seasoning, cayenne pepper (be careful; a little goes a long way), brown sugar, freshly ground black pepper, kosher or sea salt

For the pork:

1 (7-8 pounds) bone-in pork butt

1 cup of orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed

Juice of one lime

1 large onion, quartered

2 jalapeno pepper, halved

7 garlic cloves, crushed

3 bay leaves

3-5 whole allspice berries

To serve:

Your favorite tortillas, your favorite toppings, such as salsa or pico de gallo, lime-cilantro crema (recipe follows), lime-cilantro coleslaw (recipe follows), shredded cheese (Mexican blend or your favorite)


In a small bowl, mix the ingredients for the rub. Rub the mixture of spices on pork, making sure to cover it completely. Refrigerate pork for 8-12 hours

Place the onion, jalapenos, garlic, bay leaves, and allspice berries on the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the pork on top of the vegetables. Pour in orange and lime juice.

Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8-10 hours, until extremely tender.

Transfer pork to a large bowl. Let it rest until cool enough to handle then shred it with two forks. Toss pork with about 1 cup of juices from the slow cooker. Reserve the rest of the juices. Refrigerate pork and pork juices overnight.

Next day, skim the fat off the leftover pork juices and heat it in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry shredded pork in batches until brown and crisp.

Serve warm in tortillas with toppings of your choice.

Cilantro-Lime Coleslaw


1 small cabbage, thinly sliced (use a food processor)

1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

3 tablespoons lime juice (about 3 small limes)

Zest of 1 lime

3 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

2 garlic cloves, minced

Freshly ground pepper

½ cup chopped cilantro


Place the cabbage in a large colander and sprinkle with salt. Toss well to combine. Let it stand for up to one hour. Squeeze the cabbage to get read of some of the liquid and to soften the cabbage. Transfer to a large bowl. Add cilantro.

In a medium mason jar, combine lime juice, lime zest, oil, mustard, honey, garlic, and black pepper. Shake well until combine.

Pour the dressing over the cabbage and cilantro. Toss well.

Cilantro-Lime Crema


1 cup plain Greek yogurt (preferably whole milk)

2 tablespoon mayonnaise

Juice and zest from one lime

¼ cup chopped cilantro

1 garlic clove, minced

Freshly ground black pepper to taste


In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients together until well blended.