Pulled pork on cutting board
Canned Sweetened Condensed Milk Is The Secret To Tasty Caramelized Pork
Home cooks often use pork shoulder to make carnitas. To get the necessary caramelization just right, use an ingredient that may already be in your pantry: sweetened condensed milk.
Sweetened condensed milk helps build color while also adding just the right balance to the slightly spicy and savory elements of carnitas.
Many carnitas recipes use whole milk to aid caramelization, but it's less effective on small batches. Sweetened condensed milk's density and saccharine nature speed things along.
The secret here is in the slow cooking. As the carnitas braise in the pot, the sugar in the sweetened condensed milk starts to brown.
Once the lid is pulled from the pot, the water begins to evaporate, leaving behind meat, fats, and sugars. The carnitas sear in the fat and sugars to create a caramelized crust.
When all is said and done, the carnitas have a slightly sweet exterior that has a characteristically beautiful brown color thanks to the sweetened condensed milk.