Cooked low and slow in a crock pot for the easiest fall apart tender pork carnitas you will ever have.
Pork carnitas are the holy grail of Mexican food around my house. But they are usually a little too much work, so it is restaurants for us. We now grade Mexican restaurants on their carnitas (and refried beans) just like I judge Italian by Chicken Parmesan.
It was just time to do my own carnitas. So let’s analyze what is needed. Pork butt, seasoning and a low and slow cooking method. Now, as usual, I did research. The cooking method should be either oven or crock pot for prolonged control of cooking temperature. I chose slow cooker this time. The spicing was obvious for me. I want fresh orange, lime, and jalapeno.
The last question was exact technique. But something was wrong. Carnitas are “little meats” not shredded but all the recipes put the butt in the crock pot whole then later shredded and browned under the broiler. It just didn’t seem right. But I did it that way, and we had a very nice meal… a 5 rating really but I had a hard time publishing it. It just didn’t feel right calling it carnitas. I’m saving that one for a filling post and will call it crock pot shredded pork butt or something like that.
So what is a blogger to do? Well, all us good “Blogger Scouts” are to innovate and create so I did. First, fix the problem that was bothering me. I would cut up a pork butt into chunks that would mess with timing, and I needed to find a way to “brown” in the crock pot. The solution to browning was to cook then fully remove enough fluid, so the top half of the meat was exposed then finish cooking with the lid shifted some to let moisture out I works great.
A high five from the wife and myself. Now she has to decide between this and the carrot cake pancakes for the recipe of the year. I see multiple taste testings coming.
Notes: A great finish temperature is 185 plus here. That is the minimum I would use for pulled pork on the grill.
Start with fresh orange, lime, and jalapeno. This is a 5 pound bone in pork butt. 3-5 pounds should work. More won’t fit in the crock pot well.
Cut the pork but into 2-inch chunks. Trim large chunks of fat and of course the bone if present.
Mince on jalapeno. Crush or mince four cloves of garlic.
Add the meat to a large mixing bowl and coat with the juice of a large orange and two limes. If cooking closer to three pounds, do one lime and a smaller orange.
Add two teaspoons coarse salt, one teaspoon black pepper, one teaspoon cumin and one teaspoon oregano. Add the garlic and jalapeno and mix well.
Prep a large crock pot with a good spray of PAM. Add the meat and cook on low for 5 hours and check the internal temperature. You’re looking for 185 plus. Once there remove enough liquid to leave about half the meat exposed and cook for one more hour with the top opened a little to vent moisture.
June 9, 2016
Nutrition calculation is meat only