ONE OF THE MOST REQUESTED CHARLOTTE HOME RECIPES I AM ASKED FOR IS MY LIGHTENED-UP VERSION OF PORK CARNITAS.
They are super easy to cook and taste phenomenal. Everything can be prepared the night before and then you’ll just have to start the slow-cooker right before you leave in the morning for the office.
That night when you get home, you’ll receive greetings with the sweet smells of Mexican goodness and a dinner that is ready in a snap!
JOIN ME AND GIVE PORK A TRY! IT CERTAINLY IS THE OTHER (TASTIER) WHITE MEAT! (REMEMBER THOSE COMMERCIALS?)
Carnitas, meaning “Little Meats” is Pork Shoulder that is braised in lard or fat until the meat is fork-tender. At restaurants, you’ll find it served in Tacos or on its own with Beans, Guacamole, Sour Cream, and Tortillas. However, I’m not particularly a fan of extra lard or fat on my heinie, so I braise mine in Orange Juice.
The juice gives the meat a slight citrus essence, which couples nicely with Mexican fare.
Bust out your slow-cooker and get ready to put the SHOCK in CROCKPOT! The meat shreds easily with two forks and is (literally) fall-off-the-bone fantastic! I must warn you; this recipe makes enough to feed a small army… So be prepared to eat-your-little-heart out in all things Mexican for the next few days.
Slow-Cooker Mexican Pork Carnitas
- 4 pound (bone-in) Pork Shoulder
- 1/3 cup Sweet Heat Dry Rub – recipe below (if you don’t have time to make this, just rub all the listed spices on the Pork Shoulder, to your preference)
- 1 Onion, roughly chopped
- 1 cup Orange Juice
- 1/4 cup Lime Juice
- Lime wedges for serving (optional)
- Cilantro for serving (optional)
- Trim excess fat from Pork Shoulder and season with Dry Rub. (Make sure to cover all sides of the meat with spices!)
- Place Onion on the bottom of the crockpot and then put the spiced meat on top. Pour Orange and Lime Juice over meat.
- Cover and cook on low heat for 8 or 10 hours. You can also cook it on high heat for 4-6 hours if you need it done sooner.
- After the meat has cooked, remove it from the crockpot and shred with two forks. Discard most liquid from the crockpot, reserving about 1 cup. Now add the meat back into the pot and mix with reserved 1 cup liquid and onions.
- The goal is to achieve crispily, caramelized Carnitas. You’ll need to either pan fry or broil the meat before serving. To pan fry, just transfer the meat to a large sauté pan or wok and sauté on medium-high heat until the meat is crispy and browned about 5-7 minutes.
To broil, transfer the meat to a baking sheet and cook in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the meat develops a nice crust
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Or you can freeze individual portions in Ziploc freezer bags and thaw them, as needed. They will last in the fridge for up to 3 months. (Note: if you’re going to freeze the extras, I recommend freezing them after step 4. Then when you’re ready to eat the Carnitas, thaw the bag in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours and pan fry or broil before serving.)
Pork Carnitas Stuffed Sweet Potatoes (see prior Sweet Potato recipe post), added to Omelets, Tacos, Burritos, stuffed Quesadillas, Nachos (or french-fry Nachos!), Salads, Chili or Quiche.
Sweet Heat Dry Rub:
- ½ cup Brown Sugar
- ¼ cup Smoked Paprika
- 2 tbsp Chili Powder
- 2 tbsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Onion Powder
- 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tbsp Cumin
- 1 tbsp Granulated Sugar
- 1 tbsp Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
- Mix all spices in a large mason jar (or reuse a large empty spice container or pasta jar), keep air tight when storing. Use within one year (trust me, it won’t last that long).
Charlotte Home Recipe provided by Jessica Bentley | @sliceofjess