- 4 pounds pork butt or pork shoulder (preferably Berkshire pork), trimmed, cut into 3x3-inch chunks
- 10 1/4 cups peanut oil, divided
- 2 1/2 cups cola-flavored soda, divided
Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Heat 1/4 cup peanut oil in heavy 8-quart pot over high heat. Working in batches, add pork to pot and sauté until browned on all sides, about 7 minutes per batch. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to large bowl.
Pour remaining 10 cups peanut oil into same pot. Attach deep-fry thermometer to side of pot; heat over medium heat until thermometer registers 280°F. Add pork to oil in pot (temperature of oil will drop to between 180°F and 200°F). Cook pork over medium heat until brown and tender, adjusting heat as necessary to maintain temperature of oil between 200°F and 220°F, about 1 1/2 hours. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to another large pot. Add orange juice and 2 cups cola to pork and bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer until pork is very tender, about 35 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup cola and stir over medium heat until meat falls apart and liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes longer. Season generously with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.
Coke-braised pork tacos (Tacos de carnitas in Coca-Cola) from Casa Marcela: Recipes and Food Stories of My Life in the Californias (page 15) by Marcela Valladolid
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- bay leaves
- garlic powder
- pork shoulder
- corn tortillas
Always check the publication for a full list of ingredients. An Eat Your Books index lists the main ingredients and does not include 'store-cupboard ingredients' (salt, pepper, oil, flour, etc.) - unless called for in significant quantity.
How to Cook With Soda
The first time I stopped into Jestine’s in Charleston—a homestyle family restaurant famous for fried whiting and a line that winds around the block, I was told dessert is mandatory.
After a spread of dense chicken and limas and buttery biscuits, a Coca Cola cake sounded joltingly weird enough to get me back on my feet—or maybe just push me over the edge in full-on food coma. Long a fixture in vintage cookbooks, sodas like cola and root beer have found a variety of uses in cooking. It's also not completely outlandish to see cakes made with orange or lemon-lime soda—get experimental with the sodas you try.
Root beer's flavor ranges from anise to sassafras, and it makes a great addition to savory cooking (especially barbecue). Cola packs in a similarly tough-to-describe flavor, with traces of vanilla, cinnamon, and citrus.
If you're avoiding high fructose corn syrup, there are plenty of alternative artisanal sodas that use cane sugar instead. It's the carbonation and flavoring you want from sodas like root beer or cola—the syrupy body isn't necessary.
Soda belongs in your cooking, folks, and we’ve got some ideas on how to make it really pop.
Cola's high acidity and caramel flavor makes a surprisingly good meat tenderizer. Cola typically has a pH of about 2.7—for comparison, lemon juice has a pH of 2—making it acidic enough to break down some proteins without dissolving your meat. Soda acts as great tenderizer—you could get a tender cut of meat grill-ready in less than a half-hour. Cola-tenderizing for 24 hours yields a meat dish that practically melts, like this Atlanta brisket.
Try braising with cola, like you would with wine. Some carnitas would be excellent with the tang of cola and orange juice, and with only a 40-minute marinade, you could even pull it off on a weeknight.
Coke-Braised Pork Carnitas
Make a barbecue-friendly glaze with cherry soda, (a good use for leftover liter bottles from a party). Reduce the liquid by three-quarters, then add cherry jam, vinegar, soy sauce, and mustard. Cook that down for about another hour, and you have a rich, fruit-forward sauce for barbecue ribs. You can use a similar approach to make a cola sauce with cooked onions and jarred chili sauce.
Boost your next batch of baked beans and add root beer with cider vinegar, tomato paste, and chili powder before baking the beans.
Root Beer Baked Beans
In the same way that it tenderizes brisket or pork ribs, soda contributes a little tenderness to a chocolate cake’s batter. A Coca Cola sheet cake like the one I had at Jestine's doesn’t even need sugar in the batter. If you want to take it the traditional route, fluff it up with marshmallows in the batter and a crunchy crumble of pecans on top.
How does this work? The carbonation of the soda releases bubbles that get trapped in the batter, working just like a baking soda without the metallic taste. You'll still need a little baking soda in a cola cake, but soda works as a extra push of leavening, with a tart taste.
Chocolate Cherry Cola Cake
There’s no question of whether root beer works in creamy applications for dessert—hello root beer floats—but it also bubbles up dramatically with baking soda for a tender cake.
If you really want to take soda love to a sweet place, bring root beer to a boil with milk to make a pudding that replicates a root beer float.
Bored and Hungry: Recipe trial and error
I haven’t been very good about trying new recipes lately, so I decided to try a recipe delivery service. Plated delivered our first two meals two weeks ago, and another two today. I really love it – no shopping, no coming up with ideas about new things to cook, and great, fresh, home-cooked food. They deliver a box with all the ingredients except for salt, pepper and oil, with a recipe card that walks you step by step through the process. And within a half hour, you have protein, starch, and veggies ready to serve. I’m pretty much in love with the whole process.
I’m not going to be doing that EVERY day, though, so I’m still trying to come up with new, healthy things to try here and there. Last night was this Stir Fried Pork and Mixed Veggies. And it was a success – at least for the grown-ups in the house. C wasn’t a huge fan the pork was pretty spicy, and I served it over brown rice which he doesn’t love. But it came together quickly, which makes it great for a weeknight, and the sauce was very flavorful. I’ll definitely make it again.
A few weeks ago, I made these coke braised carnitas. YUM I loved these – they were sweet and tangy and made delicious tacos, but the meat was also good on its own, with a salad or vegetables on the side. It’s definitely not a quick recipe, and certainly not low calorie, but it was oh so tasty.
Hopefully I will find more good ones to share soon, but in the meantime, I will be enjoying my no-shopping, no thought required Plated meals!
Bored and Hungry: Recipe trial and error
I decided to try a couple of new recipes for the 4th, since I had Friday off and had time to shop. A new Wegmans just opened not too far from us, and I learned my lesson about shopping at a new grocery store the day before a holiday! But I got everything we needed for a good meal yesterday! I decided to make Coke-braised carnitas, which I’d tried once before and enjoyed, as well as this watermelon pico de gallo, everybody’s favorite guacamole, black beans, and strawberry cheesecake ice cream pie. In the sake of time, I cheated a little bit on the pie by buying a pre-made graham cracker crust – but the rest was from scratch.
The overall verdict on the meal was good – however, the watermelon pico was a little sweeter than we would generally like (especially with the sweetness of the coke-braised meat) so it was better as a side salad than on top of the tacos. Next time will add a little more sriracha so it’s a bit spicier, but I love the sweet/spicy flavor of the meat, especially with some queso fresco and a corn tortilla heated on the stove. We saved the pie for after fireworks, and it was delicious right out of the freezer with the warm strawberry topping. I’m going to enjoy the leftovers – until the pre-vacation diet begins on Thursday!
when deciding what’s for dinner, usually it comes down to one thing. how many of the ingredients do i have on hand? with only 5 ingredients for these carnitas, i was almost there and sans pork shoulder. a quick trip to the west side market and 7 bucks later – i was set. while it does take a few hours in the oven to braise, there is virtually no prep or hands on work, more time to watch all of the amazing (slash terrible) bachelor girls squirm.
coke braised carnitas (serves 3-4)
- 2 pound pork shoulder
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3-4 cups Coke
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- zest of 1/2 lime (optional)
- toppings: shredded red cabbage, onion, feta cheese, avocado, cilantro, lime wedges – go wild.
preheat oven to 325. put your olive oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat and brown pork shoulder on all side, should take around 8 minutes. add remaining ingredients (coke, soy sauce, hot sauce, optional lime zest) and bring to a boil. use enough coke so it is halfway up the pork. cover with the lid slightly askew and put into oven for 3-3.5 hours turning every 30-45 minutes. once the meat is falling apart, transfer pork to a large bowl and shred with two forks. if you’d like your meat a little saucier, add some of the liquid – not too much, its sweet! i didn’t find it necessary to add any.
to assemble tacos: heat tortillas directly on burners for about 15-20 seconds or until charred to your liking. garnish with whatever toppings make you smile and serve.
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Posts Categorized: Pork and Beef
Posted May 27th, 2021 by Jenny & filed under Dinner, Grilling, Pork and Beef.
Newsletter readers! Here is the pork chop recipe I was talking about in today’s dispatch. Sweet and spicy, smoky and tender. I beg Andy to make them for us all summer long. (Originally published in How to Celebrate Everything.) Grilled Soy-Glazed Pork ChopsServes 4 4 bone-in pork chops, about 3 1/2-4 pounds totalkosher salt and freshly ground pepper1/4 cup soy… Read more »
Posted August 30th, 2017 by Jenny & filed under Chicken and Turkey, Dinner, Pork and Beef.
Not a lot to report today, but wanted to point you in the direction of a promotion I worked on with Food52 that included this Corn Stew with Chicken and Sausage, one of my all-time favorite end-of-summer dinners. (Playbook owners might have already discovered it.) Head over there and let me know what you think. Also: Thanks to those of… Read more »
Last week, in my Friday round-up, I linked to a recipe on Nate Appleman’s instagram feed and said it would be on this week’s line-up. I’m pleased to report that I am ahead of schedule on that one, making it not only once, but twice in two days this past weekend. Above is our chicken version of the salad-y dish,… Read more »
Posted March 13th, 2017 by Jenny & filed under Dinner, Pork and Beef.
You should see my freezer right now. There are amorphous Ziplocks of homemade chicken stock, a bag of pre-soaked beans, a bag of fully baked beans, some shredded chicken from taco night last month, a single sausage here, a chicken drumstick there, a sliced mini loaf of the crazy delicious Danish rye bread from Great Northern Food Hall (so good with… Read more »
Posted February 14th, 2017 by Jenny & filed under Dinner, Pork and Beef.
Last week, when Susan Collins, Republican Senator of Maine, broke with her party to vote against Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, I know what you were all thinking: Yeah, it’s good to know where she stands on vouchers and charter schools, but what I really want to know is: Where does she stand on meatloaf? I hear you! As any… Read more »
The Most Addictive Ribs
Posted June 30th, 2016 by Jenny & filed under Grilling, Pork and Beef.
We think of it as the Eleventh Commandment: When entertaining, thou shall not make food that requires too much time away from your guests. And though it’s easy to forget this when the weather is warm and the parties move outside and the grill is up and running, the rule still applies. We learned this the hard way that one… Read more »
Do As the Romans Do: Cook Once, Eat Twice
Posted June 21st, 2016 by Jenny & filed under Pork and Beef, Travel.
A few weeks ago, under the category of “Nice Work if You Can Get it,” I was tasked with tracking down the best cookbooks of the spring for the Times. Those of you who made your way through that round-up (bless you, it was a lot), might remember one of the stand-outs: Tasting Rome, by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill,… Read more »
Slow Cooker Korean Tacos
Anatomy of a Weeknight Dinner, Thursday May 5. 7:00 am Shower, get dressed, dig yesterday’s still-packed lunch bags out of backpacks even though Allowance Rules decree the removal of lunch bags from backpacks by owners of said lunch bags. 8:00 am Before leaving for school drop-off, remove pork loin from freezer and add to bowl of water for thawing. 8:15… Read more »
A Genius Dinner
Posted December 15th, 2015 by Jenny & filed under Dinner, Entertaining, Pork and Beef.
“We’re looking at a pretty dire situation here,” I texted Andy. It was about 5:30 on a Thursday and one of his coworkers was coming for dinner an hour and a half later. The situation in question was the dinner itself. Ever since reading about Diana Kennedy’s famous Carnitas in Genius Recipes, I’d been meaning to try out the recipe,… Read more »
Posted January 12th, 2015 by Jenny & filed under Pork and Beef.
A few soda-related joys in life: Icy Coke with grilled cheese after a day at the beach a can of Dr. Pepper to wash down my slice at Sal’s Pizzeria Orange soda — the nasty, neon kind– with grilled hot dogs at my elementary school end-of-the-year picnics circa 1978. My kids have no such romantic association with soda. Last weekend,… Read more »
Top 10 Fall Favorites
All right, guys, the open-toed shoes are getting packed away, the leaves are going all gold on us, and soccer season is starting to actually feel like soccer season. In other words, fall is here, which means we can justify a dive back into the archive to find some of my heartier favorites. 1. Pomegranate-Braised Pork Loin with Cabbage (pictured)… Read more »
Spicy Pork Tacos with Peach Salsa
Posted September 3rd, 2014 by Jenny & filed under Grilling, Pork and Beef.
When you picture dinner in my house, do you imagine two starving little middle schoolers, banging utensils on the table with both hands, and rolling their eyes at their mother as she snaps photos and re-positions garnishes just so? Or me shouting “one more second” from the next room waiting for the sun to sink to just the right place,… Read more »
No-Stress Vacation Dinner
On Saturday we found ourselves in an unusual predicament: It was 4:00 and we hadn’t decided what was for dinner yet. Oddly, if it were a normal weekday at home, this wouldn’t be an issue. But we were on vacation, and as anyone who has read my first book (or read the post “My Drill Sergeant of Leisure“) might recall, on… Read more »
Rut-Busting Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Posted May 22nd, 2014 by Jenny & filed under Dinner, Pork and Beef.
Let’s talk about ruts. Specifically the rut I’m in right now, which involves waking up committed to getting some good writing done, and then going to bed twelve hours later with almost nothing to show for it. (Unless you count a few facebook and instagram posts, a lot of soccer-related emails, and a screentime-overload-induced headache “something to show.”) Ruts, no matter… Read more »
Grilled Steak Tacos: Just Plain Good
Posted May 15th, 2014 by Jenny & filed under Dinner, Pork and Beef, Quick.
I have been looking for the right angle to write about these steak tacos for a few weeks now, which I’ve decided is just plain unfair. Why deny you guys a solid recipe just in the name of story-telling? As I’m sure you know by now, my goal with this blog and my next book, is not just to chronicle what… Read more »
Orecchiette with Sweet Sausage Bolognese
Posted April 10th, 2014 by Jenny & filed under Pork and Beef.
I’m a little obsessed with this dinner — even though I haven’t really eaten a legitimate bowl of it yet. It started at the farmer’s market on Saturday — right now is slim pickins there in terms of greens and produce (see: Winter, Brutal) but I was still able to pick up a few old friends that I had been… Read more »
Abby’s Famous Swiss Chard (with a Side of Steak)
Guest-post from 10-year-old Abby: I am so sick of kale. Good thing I taught my family to like chard with this world famous dish. Well not world famous, but famous in my house. I love chard. The second I saw the rainbow-colored stems at farm camp growing in a garden with beautiful fluffy green leaves I knew that they would… Read more »
Posted March 14th, 2014 by Jenny & filed under Dinner, Pork and Beef, Uncategorized.
If I can’t get to Tulum anytime soon, at least I can make Hartwood‘s skirt steak with roasted plantains. (You can just tell from the photo that it’s going to be easy, right?) The Knork reminds me: it’s a fine line between ridiculous and genius. Rebecca Lee should be more famous than Pharrell. (No offense to Pharrell.) Last week, I heard her read the… Read more »
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 16 (4-ounce) pieces small, thick, bone-in beef short ribs (about 4 pounds total)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 carrots, cut into large chunks
- 2 onions, quartered
- 1 bottle (750 mL) dry red wine, such as Merlot
- 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, in puree
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place flour in a medium bowl season with salt and pepper. Toss ribs in flour mixture until well coated shake off excess.
In a 5- to 8-quart Dutch oven or heavy ovenproof pot, heat oil over medium-high. Cook ribs in two batches, turning until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes per batch transfer to a plate.
Add carrots and onions to pot. Cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits, until vegetables are lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add wine, broth, thyme, and tomatoes (breaking them up). Arrange ribs in pot bring liquid to a boil. Cover, transfer to oven, and cook 1 hour. Reduce heat to 350 degrees cook until fork-tender (but not falling apart), about 1 hour more.
Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer ribs to a plate. Moisten with cooking liquid cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Strain remaining liquid through a fine-mesh sieve (discard solids) return to pot. Bring to a boil cook until sauce is slightly thickened and reduced to about 2 cups, 10 to 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve ribs with sauce. (Or return to pot, let cool slightly, cover, and refrigerator up to 1 day.)
Pork Carnitas Recipes
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Pork Carnitas With Orange, Avocado, And Lime
Slow-cooking in Coke makes this pork disk meltingly tender and mysteriously .
The pork used for carnitas is so tender that it just falls apart. That's wh .
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Recipe from Cooking Light
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These make-ahead tacos are an ideal way to showcase slow-cooked pork. Brown .
Pork Carnitas With Green Chiles
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Arizona Carnitas With Green Chiles
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MyRecipes recommends that you make this Pork Carnitas recipe from All You
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