What is a Copper Cazo and why is it preferred for making Carnitas?

What is a Copper Cazo and why is it preferred for making Carnitas?

A Copper Cazo is a traditional Mexican cooking pot, typically made from copper, that is wide with a deep, concave shape. It is preferred for making carnitas because copper conducts heat evenly, and the shape allows for frying and simmering large amounts of pork in lard.

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Where can one purchase a Copper Cazo for making Carnitas?

Copper Cazos can be purchased at Mexican kitchenware stores, certain specialized online retailers, or at markets in regions with a significant Mexican community.

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How do you properly season a new Copper Cazo before using it for the first time?

To properly season a new Copper Cazo, clean it with warm soapy water, rinse and dry it, then heat it with a moderate amount of lard or oil to coat the surface. This process helps to build a non-stick patina on the copper.

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Can you use a Copper Cazo on a regular home stove for making Carnitas?

Yes, you can use a Copper Cazo on a regular home stove, but it is essential to monitor the heat closely because copper conducts heat very efficiently.

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What is the best way to clean and maintain a Copper Cazo after cooking Carnitas?

After cooking, let the Cazo cool, wash it with a gentle detergent and a soft sponge, dry it thoroughly, and occasionally polish it with a copper cleaner to maintain its shine and prevent oxidation.

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Are there any health concerns associated with cooking in a Copper Cazo?

When cooking acidic foods, copper can leach into the food, which may pose health concerns. To avoid this, many Copper Cazos are lined with tin or stainless steel.

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What size Copper Cazo is typically used for making Carnitas?

For making carnitas, typically a larger Copper Cazo around 15 to 30 inches in diameter is used, which provides enough space to cook large quantities of pork.

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Can a Copper Cazo be used for cooking other dishes besides Carnitas?

Yes, a Copper Cazo can be versatile and is also ideal for cooking other dishes such as jams, candies, or for deep-frying foods due to its excellent heat distribution.

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What is the difference between a traditional Copper Cazo and a modern one?

The main difference is that traditional Copper Cazos are often handmade and may lack a protective lining, while modern ones are more likely to be machine-made and tinned to prevent copper from leaching into the food.

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Is it safe to use a Copper Cazo on an induction cooktop?

Copper does not work well on induction cooktops because it is not magnetic. If a Copper Cazo has a magnetic layer added to its base, it could work, but generally, it is not recommended.

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Carnitas Frying in a Mexican Copper Cazo