Carnitas Sliders with Sriracha Mayonnaise

Here is a globe-trotting mini sandwich with an incredible combination of international ingredients. Starting with the concept of the American slider, it goes to Mexico for pork shoulder and a pickled onion garnish, down to Peru for sweet potatoes, and over to Asia for a spicy mayonnaise. Buen Provecho! -Chef Richard Sandoval

 Photo Credit: Penny De Los Santos

Photo Credit: Penny De Los Santos

Carnitas Sliders with Sriracha Mayonnaise

Yield: Serves 4; Makes 12 Sliders

INGREDIENTS

For the Slow-Cooked Mexican Pork Shoulder
Two 1½-pound (680-g) boneless pork shoulder roasts, cut in half lengthwise to make 4 pieces
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1½ pounds (680 g) store-bought lard (see Note), melted (about 3 cups), as needed
Vegetable oil, if needed

For the Sriracha Mayonnaise:
1/2 cup (120ml) mayonnaise, preferably Kewpie
2 teaspoons Sriracha or other Asian hot red pepper sauce
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced

For the lime-pickled onions:
1 small red onion, cut into thin half-moons
1/2 habanero chile, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Kosher salt
1 long, narrow orange-fleshed sweet potato, cut into twelve 1/4-inch rounds
2 cups Slow-Cooked Mexican Pork Shoulder
12 potato dinner rolls or slider buns, split

DIRECTIONS

1. The day before cooking, season the pork all over with the salt. Wrap it loosely in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 12 to 18 hours.

2. Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat it to 300ºF (150ºC).

3. Rinse the salt off the pork under cold running water and pat it dry with paper towels. Place the pork in a small Dutch oven or deep heatproof casserole just large enough to hold the pieces. Add enough melted lard to barely cover the pork, adding vegetable oil if you run out of lard. Cover it with a lid. Transfer it to the oven and bake until the pork is fork-tender, about 2½ hours. Remove the pork from the oven and let it partially cool in the fat for about 1 hour.

4. Remove the warm pork from the fat and transfer it to a carving board. Transfer about ¼ cup (60 ml) of the warm fat from the pot to a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate it for reheating the pork. Discard the remaining fat. Using two forks or your fingers, shred the pork into bite-size pieces, discarding any excess fat. (The carnitas can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Reheat it with the reserved lard before using.)

Note: You may find refrigerated small-batch lard sold at some Latin supermarkets and specialty butchers. This beige product has much more flavor than the typical supermarket lard, which is stored at room temperature and is white and highly processed. Even so, you can use the white lard in a pinch.