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Zamora Brothers Carnitas ~ East Los Angeles

10:58 AM PST on February 1, 2011

Head over to the adjacent park and have yourself a picnic starring some of the best fried pork this city has to offer.

Throw a stone anywhere in LA, and your bound to hit somewhere that serves carnitas. Even Taco Bell, currently involved in a lawsuit contesting that its beef is actually beef, tried their hand at a rendition of the carnitas taco. Despite the many bastardized and sanitized version that are available, there remain places in this city that serve carnitas that truly pay homage to what you’ll find in Central Mexico. One such establishment is the family-run Zamora Brothers Carniceria, located just north of Belvedere Park in East Los Angeles; not to be confused with a unrelated Zamora Bros. further west on Cesar Chavez Avenue, nor with another in Pico-Union that closed briefly last year due to a fire. This particular Zamora Brothers serves food ‘”estilo Iripuato”, or originating from the Mexican city of Irapuato in Guadalajara. The building’s exterior is decorated in regal red and blue colors crowned by a slightly disturbing mural of a teary-eyed pig ready to be cooked.

Enter inside and you will find that Zamora’s is much more of a meat market than restaurant. If you peer in the back you might be able to catch a glimpse of the cazo, a large copper kettle, where the pork sizzles in it’s own rendered fat. Carnitas are simmered slowly for several hours before the heat is turned up and the meat develops a crisp outer crust as it fries. The use of pork drippings means that these carnitas are rich with the savory essence of heavenly uncured bacon. When the meat is finished Mrs. Zamora places the meat on the deli counter in huge mounds, glistening and radiant. Almost every park of the pig is on display here: buche (intenstine), oreja (ear), trompa (snout), cuertido (skin) and of course large hunks of maciza (pork shoulder) . At lunchtime the line goes out the door, as old and young alike quickly snatch up the sizzling carnitas before they have even begun to cool...

Zamora Brothers Carniceria
4771 E Cesar E Chavez Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90022
(323) 264-1214

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