Choose a nicely fatty picnic roast (also known as pork butt), so you'll have plenty of fat to melt and brown the carnitas at the end. Total cooking time is about an hour and half, maybe a little less. They're fabulous with warm corn tortillas and roasted salsa verde. Guacamole is great folded into a taco with them, too.
Serves 4 to 6.
A 3- to 3 1/2-pound picnic roast (also known as pork butt), cut off the bone into 3-inch chunks
2 teaspoons salt
A few thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
3 wide strips of orange zest
Cilantro for garnish
Place the meat in a Dutch oven or other flameproof, cover with cold water and add the salt, thyme sprigs, bay leaves and orange zest. Bring it to a boil, uncovered, then reduce the heat and let it cook briskly until all the water has evaporated – about an hour and ten minutes (or more or less, depending on how briskly it cooks).
Once all the water has evaporated, the meat chunks will start to brown. Turn them every few minutes, so they're browned on all sides. The browning will take another 15 minutes or so. Serve them on a platter, garnished with cilantro, with warm corn tortillas. Or pull the chunks apart a bit with two forks and serve them in a bowl, with warm tortillas and roasted salsa verde, so everyone can make tacos.