Carne Frita is delicious chunks of meat seasoned in a Puerto Rican style and fried just enough to get juicy meat. A must have that it is very simple to do nothing fancy here just cut your meat, season, cook and fry.
What is Carne Frita?
In Spanish, we called them by different names. We can say masitas de cerdo, cerdo frito or Carne Frita which in translation they all mean fried meat but it specifically refers to fried pork meat. It is made from pork shoulder or the butt. Seasoned with various spices including one of the bases of Puerto Rican seasoning sazón. First, it is cooked in its own juices and afterward is fried.
The secret to juicy tender fried pork
To achieve this is not as hard as you might think and is very simple. To get your pork tender every time the secret is to first cook it in its juices. Let me explain. Once your meat is seasoned you add it to your pan without any type of oil because your pork will have some fat so no need for extra. As it cooks it will start releasing its juices which will act just like a stock to boil your pork in. By the time it is done it will already be tender and juicy. Then you fry it and that will also help the meat get juicier but also it will enhance the flavors.
Carne Frita is part of Puerto Rican Chinchorros
Fried pork chunks are part of the menu in most of the chinchorros in Puerto Rico. Chinchorros are places where they serve drinks and foods like Bacalaitos or other fried foods. They are like any other restaurant but they are usually smaller. With food as good as any high end place without the fancy stuff.
What to serve with?
Serve your Carne Frita like the chinchorros do. Accompany this with some tostones and mayo ketchup to make the ultimate finger food platter. Another popular way to eat this is with Mofongo sometimes on the side and sometimes inside of it. Another good way to eat this is with some white rice and beans, or yuca en escabeche. I have even put it on some bread and it is delicious.
This Carne Frita recipe is very convenient to make ahead. Especially when you have events where you have family and friends for a party, a game night or just to hang out. You can make this recipe ahead by cutting, seasoning and cooking but not frying. Then save in an airtight container or freezer bag and store for up to 3 months and when ready to use thaw and fry. Can it last longer frozen? Yes but it can get freezer burn so I rather not. If you have some leftovers you can save it for no more than 3 days in your fridge.
How to make Carne Frita
1. First you have to cut your pork into cubes about 1 inch thick. Of course, you can buy it already cut and save some time.
2. Now is the time to season your meat and there’s no need to marinate beforehand.
3. Cook your meat for 45 minutes and drain. You can save the juices left from the pork chunks for other recipes such as gravies or rice.
4. Fry for 10 minutes or until they have a nice golden color.
1. Pork Chunks- This recipe calls for 1 pound of pork chunks preferably shoulder or butt. You can cut them or buy them pre-cut.
2. Sazón- I used 1 ½ teaspoon. You can make your own or buy some at any Latin grocery store or the Latino section in your local supermarket.
3. Salt- I used 1 teaspoon of regular salt.
4. Msg- I added 1 Teaspoon to enhance that umami flavor.
5. Garlic Powder- I used ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder but you can use fresh garlic.
6. Ground Coriander- I used ¼ teaspoon.
7. Oil- I used vegetables but you can use whichever you normally use to fry.
Carne Frita | Fried Pork
- 1 pound pork chunks
- 1 ½ teaspoon sazón
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon msg
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 cup oil to fry
- Cut your pork into 1 inch thick pieces. While cutting leave some fat on as this will help with the cooking. You can skip this step by buying the pork already cut.
- In a large bowl add the meat, sazón, salt, msg, ground coriander and garlic powder and mix everything. Now in a large saucepan add your pork chunks and cook for 45 minutes over medium heat. Stir occasionally so your meat won't stick together and cook evenly. Drain your meat.
- Over a large saucepan add 1 cup of oil and set to medium high heat. You need to cook your pork for about 10 minutes or until they have a nice golden color. Serve right away and enjoy.
- I suggest that when you drain the pork chunks you save the juices. These are good for things like making graving, vegetables and rice.
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