Saturday, September 24, 2005

LOW CARB PRODUCT RAVE: (for fledgling cooks)
Del Real Carnitas from Costco

I don't really buy a lot of pre-made food, since I'm one of those people who just loves to cook. I swear I am not happy unless the kitchen is a mess. If you're a bona fide foodie who loves to cook like me and would never dream of buying a pre-made, ready-to-eat food that just has to be heated, simply skip this post and go on to the next blog.

However, there are all kind of people in the world, and I get requests all the time from my non-foodie non-cooking friends to blog about products that are good for people who can't (don't, won't?) cook, but who want to eat the lower carb way. Because of that I'm always on the lookout for foods that fit that criteria and look like they will taste good. I see a lot of products in this category that I wouldn't consider buying, simply because they don't really look good enough that I would want to eat them. But once in a while I stumble on a product that looks like a winner.

I love to order Carnitas in Mexican restaurants, so when I saw the package of ready to eat Del Real brand Carnitas in the refrigerated case at Costco, I was intrigued. I had seen it before, but quite honestly I was waiting for them to demo it so I could try it without buying it. I waited a few weeks, but that didn't happen so on Friday night I bought a package, about $10.00 for two pounds of "real Mexican style" Carnitas, so not a bad buy.

The heating instructions suggested warming it in the microwave, but I immediately discarded that idea when I opened the package. Luckily I had brought Carnitas home many times from The Red Iguana, my favorite Salt Lake City Mexican restaurant, and I knew that Carnitas is not a low fat dish. It's the fat that gives the roasted pork the delicious crispy edges and great flavor, but when it's cold from the refrigerated case at Costco, all that fat doesn't look too appealing. However, I carried on because the meat looked like I knew that Carnitas should look.

I knew you could make Carnitas in a crockpot, so I decided to use that method to heat it. I broke the pieces of meat apart slightly, and placed them in the crockpot, then squeezed the juice of one lime over the meat. I heated the meat on high for several hours, turning it a few times so that all the outside pieces were getting crispy and sizzling.

After a couple of hours in the Crockpot, the Carnitas were tender, juicy and absolutely delicious. If you have low carb tortillas on hand, the meat could be made into incredible tacos. I ate mine simply with some sour cream and salsa and a sliced cucmber with Ranch dressing. The only thing missing was the incredible refried beans that they have at The Red Iguana.

I tried to find a web location for Del Real Foods, but all I found was this site which was under construction.

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More to Chew On:


  1. I absolutely love Carnitas. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Kalyn:
    I just posted this message at Anyway, maybe here you'll read it sooner.

    Hopefully you can help me. I was searching for some information about carnitas in the United States and I ran into your comments about these carnitas sold in Costco. My name is Gonzalo Kutz and I live in Mexico City. The thing is I have a friend who owns a restaurant which specializes in carnitas tacos or "tacos de carnitas". In Mexico City, carnitas are mainly eaten in a corn tortilla with chopped onion, coriander and hot sauce. I assume that you've tried carnitas in burritos, they must be very tasty also. My friend's tacos are really good, he's been runnning these kind of restaurants for a lot of years now and he's been pretty successful. An idea has been crossing our minds lately: To export canned or packed carnitas to the U.S. We have a friend living in the U.S., he's very involved with the food industry and he's eager to be our contact, he'd try to create a market for us. Perhaps you would be interested too.Who knows, we could be doing business together.
    I thought that being such a carnitas fans, maybe you would have a word or two about this idea. Assuming that we could come out with a quality product ( fresh meat complying with all U.S. required standards, permits etc.), do you think that there could be a market for this kind of product?, I mean, are there a lot like you out there ? In Mexico, people usually eat carnitas at restaurants or buy it to go, planning to eat them within a short period of time. I don't think that selling packed carnitas in a large food store would be successful here in Mexico because there are a lot of restaurants selling the thing really fresh and tasty. Still, maybe in the U.S. it could be a good option, what do you think ?
    Thanks a lot in advance for your comments on this matter.
    Best regards,
    Gonzalo Kutz
    Mexico City
    Please reply to:

  3. I also LOVE Carnitas- and having grown up in Mexico City, I was shocked when my brother told me about the Del Real Carnitas at Costco. I tried them and they really are delicious and couldn't be easier to prepare. My father-in-law doesn't even "eat" pork but he sure gobbled these up! Unfortunately, I just went a few days ago to Costco to restock and they don't carry them anymore-at any location!!! I just cannot understand why! Anyone know where to get them?

  4. I haven't purchased them for a month or two, but I sure hope my Costco still carries them.

  5. AFter having carnitas for lunch at the Red Iguana, went to Costco, got the Del Rio and had a sample for breakfast this am - Great! Live in Florida so do not have any restaurants that have carnitas - have tried at home and cannot quite get it right - don't know the closest Costco but will certainly be looking.
    Going back to the Iguana before we leave Utah and will have the chile verde - will send some misc fave recipes when I get back to FL. Thank you so much for the tip - will wear my Iguana T shirt to Costco!!


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