Chicharron – Crispy Pork

This crispy pork is a favorite in Bolivia. I like to braise it in beer and then let it crisp in its own fat. OK, it is not a health dish but it is a treat to have once in a while. Go ahead and serve it with warmed up hominy – you will find hominy in the Hispanic section of your grocery store – and boiled potatoes. I also make a spicy sauce by processing 2 jalapeno peppers (seeds and all) with 2 tomatoes, salt and a little olive oil. I love to eat the meat with this.

Another ingredient I use in this recipe is called aji colorado.
Aji Colorado

It is a red chili pod native of the Andes area. You can find it at some Hispanic markets and definitely online. However, it is not crucial to have it! If you don’t and do not want to go on a hunt for it forget it! The meat will be delicious and crispy regardless.

I find that this renders best results when I rub the cubed meat and let it marinate over night. This too, however, is not necessary. If you are in a pinch for time, relax! Apply it to the meat and let it marinate for at least 1 hour.

OK, so here is what you are going to need for 6 people:
4 pounds of cubed pork shoulder – skin and all
1 head garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoons salt (more if needed)
1- 12 oz. bottle beer
4 aji colorado
4 garlic cloves

Place the cubed pork in a large bowl and coat generously with the minced garlic, cumin and salt. If marinating overnight, cover and refrigerate. If not, cover and marinate for 1 hour.

Place the seasoned meat in a large braising pan. Add the beer and bring to a simmer.

Cubed Pork Braising in Beer

Cover – with a lid if you have one or with aluminum foil. Simmer for 2 to 3 hours until liquid is almost all gone and pork separates easily with a fork.

If using aji, toast it in a dry pan. Cover the pods with boiling water, weighing them down with a bowl. Soak the pods for 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the seeds and blend with the extra 4 cloves and salt. Whisk in some of the braising liquid and pour on the pork, in small batches, mixing to coat well.

Once the pork is cooked, remove any excess liquid if necessary. Save it and set it aside. Leave the pan uncovered. Increase the heat under your pan and start frying the pork in its rendered fat, scooping the bottom layer to the top – every 5 to 7 minutes – so that the top gets to crisp as well. If it starts drying up before it is all crispy, add a little of the liquid you have set aside.

Crispy Pork in Pan

Cook until all of the pork is crisp. Serve with heated hominy and boiled potatoes. Enjoy with an ice cold beer!

Print the Crispy Pork Recipe Here

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