cola carnitas to medianoche sandwiches

Do you have stronger feelings for slow roasted pork shoulder than say, your other half? Joe sure loves his Mexican cuisine, and I am A-OK with this match made in heaven. In fact, I tried to capitalize on this love, and convince Joe that it would be a good idea to roast banana leave-wrapped pork shoulder from a hole in our backyard, Rick Bayless style. I am very serious.

Pork Shoulder. Pork Butt. Boston Butt. Call this delicious cut of meat whatever you please, and know that it can be prepared and consumed in a multitude of ways. I recently ditched my typical slow-cooker method for a Food Network recipe reliant on Coca-Cola and tarragon for a feast of carnitas. Strong flavors, tender pork…really great food stuffs here.

In no way am I telling you how to cook your butt, but I am encouraging you to use some of the pork to make medianoche sandwiches, which fuse both mexican and caribbean cuisines into one tasty snack. This medianoche sandwich mirrors the well-known cuban sandwich, with the exception of living on sweeter bread, and being served at midnight after a few drinks.

cola prepared pork

1½-2 lbs. pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
vegetable oil
1½-2 C cola soda
tarragon, good handful
2 bay leaves
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme

Generously season the pork shoulder with salt, pepper and garlic powder. (I went easy on the garlic powder, but season to taste.)

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven. Add the pork chunks and brown on all sides. Add the soda plus ½ cup water, so that there is enough liquid to cover the sides of the meat. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.

Add the tarragon, bay leaves, and thyme. Cover and simmer until the pork is tender, and most of the cola has evaporated (some will caramelize), roughly 1½ hours. Transfer to cutting board and pull apart.

Recipe from Food Network