Serves 6 to 8
- 2 gallons water, or enough to cover the pork
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup coarse kosher salt
- 1 chopped white onion
- 10 garlic cloves
- 3 or 4 bay leaves
- 1/2 tablespoon dry oregano
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon dry thyme
- 2 oranges
- 16 ounces orange soda
- 5 chunks of fresh pork shoulder, 16 to 24 ounces each
- 1 gallon vegetable oil, olive oil, or 4 pounds leaf lard
The day before you prepare this dish, brine the pork to keep it moist, flavorful and tender: Combine water, sugar, salt and herbs in a pot or container large enough to hold all the pork shanks. Soak the pork for 24 hours, refrigerated, in the brining liquid. The next day, remove the pork from the brine, paper-towel dry and discard the brining liquid.
Pre-heat oven to 275°F.
- Place the pork in a roasting pan large enough to allow it to be submerged in the vegetable oil or lard.
- Add chopped onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, oregano, oranges (halved and squeezed), thyme, bay leaves and orange soda.
- Pour the oil into the roasting pan with the pork. Place the full roasting pan in the center of the oven and cook at 275 ̊F for 4 hours, occasionally turning the pork while keeping the meat as submerged as possible. Be very careful of the hot oil or lard.
- Carefully remove the shanks from the oven. CAUTION: The cooking fat will be dangerously hot.
- Shred the pork; serve as tacos with tortillas and pico de gallo. Buen provecho! (Bon appetite!)