One of our favorite things to eat is slow cooked beef and pork — better known as barbacoa and carnitas. Their luscious, slow-cooked tenderness may seem hard to achieve at home, but it's actually incredibly easy. It's all about the technique and the tools. Here are three options.
Slow cooking is a very simple process and can be done properly in several different ways:
1. Crock-Pot or Slow Cooker, as seen here: Fall Weekend Cooking: Break Out the Slow-Cooker!. Some prefer a slow cooker; it's the easiest way to slow-cook meat because you can essentially turn it on and forget about it (except for that tantalizing aroma!). We remember countless days we'd wake up for high school and the crock pot was already on and cooking away to ensure the meat was falling off the bone by the time dinner came around. It's also a much safer (no oven!) and less time-consuming option.
2. Dutch Oven in the Oven, as seen here: Technique: Slow Cooking Without a Slow Cooker. The Dutch oven is also a good slow cooking method. It takes 6-7 hours and a constant running oven, but it's well worth it and some people think that the 3-dimensional heat of an oven gets the meat more moist and tender.
3. Roasting Pan in the Oven, as seen here:Can You Recommend a Good Everyday Roasting Pan? This is another option for slow cooking. If the roasting pan is deep enough to keep the meat submerged, you're good to go! Without a lid, though, the liquid is prone to splatter in the oven. But this works well for large cuts of meat like an entire shank of pork.
If you want the oven-roasted taste the convenience of the slow cooker, try one of the methods here: Recipe: Slow-Cooked Pork Roast, Two Ways. This is a great recipe for slow-cooking meat two ways — both in a slow cooker. One method simply adds an extra step and browns the meat before cooking. It's really the easiest and no hassle way to get really great tasting meat that falls off the bone.
Related: Tacos & Beyond: 15 Dinners Inspired by Latin America
(Images: Flickr user erin.kkr licensed for use under Creative Commons, Faith Durand)