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Seasoned perfectly and slow cooked all day until the meat shreds effortlessly, Pork Carnitas is so flavorful and marvelous served over rice, in tacos or burritos, and piled high on top of nachos!
Our favorite way to serve it is on top of Cilantro Lime Rice with fresh Pico de Gallo and Homemade Corn Tortillas. And don’t forget the Churros for dessert!
A while back Smithfield sent me a pork shoulder roast to try. My husband saw the box and said, “So this is what we would consider a really good mail day.” Ha. Yes. Yes, indeed.
I knew immediately what I was going to do with it. I’d wanted to make a Cuban mojo sauce and Pork Carnitas forever, and this was destiny calling. I’ve been making this recipe ever since and quite regularly. We love it so much…and so does everyone else.
Carnitas simply explained is a Mexican version of pulled pork. However, authentic carnitas are made with lard, the seasoning is different, and after being shredded, the pork is sautéed in a fry pan. The insides are juicy and tender, while the outside is golden and crispy.
We don’t typically have a bucket of lard stocked in our kitchen, but this recipe does not disappoint! The combination of orange juice and lime juice tenderize the meat, releasing acid and natural sugars, so the pork falls apart effortlessly. And the spices permeate into every bite. It’s incredible.
Your options for using carnitas is long because they’re so versatile. Tortillas practically beg for them – think tacos, burritos, taquitos, quesadillas or enchiladas. Or as a topping for nachos is amazing. They’re perfectly at home in street tacos with Guacamole and Pico de Gallo for a simple dinner and make an epic taco bar for entertaining.
5-6 lbs bone in pork butt or shoulder
4 garlic cloves
1 whole yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 3-4 medium oranges)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3 large limes)
1-7oz. can chipotles in adobo
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup water
Kosher salt, pepper and cumin
Season the pork butt or shoulder on all sides generously with salt, pepper and cumin. Cut small slits all over the pork and rub the seasonings in the crevices.
In a large 7qt crockpot, add the onions and garlic cloves to cover the bottom of the pot.
Place the pork butt over the onions and juices.
Add the citrus juices.
Add the can of chipotle peppers, along with the brown sugar, the oregano, cinnamon and the water.
Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8 hours, until the pork is tender, and falls off the bone.
Once cooked, lower the temperature to warm, and remove the pork shoulder whole, as best as possible, from the crockpot and place it on a large cutting board.
Using an immersion blender, blend all the vegetables and the liquids that remain in the crockpot.
Shred the pork, and return it to the crockpot. Stir to incorporate the shredded pork with the juices.
Serve the pulled pork in sandwiches, tacos or with rice and beans.