If you’ve never had Carnitas before – THEY WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE. For realzies. Now they aren’t the best food if you’re on a diet, keep that in mind and as much as I promote people abandoning the crazy low fat high that we used to ride in the 90’s – these are really fatty. So these should be a once in a while treat, especially if you don’t have access to pastured and healthy pork. Even if you do, pork and chicken fats should always come second to Beef, Lamb and other ruminants. But the fat is what makes them so irresistibly gooooood! Carnitas, in Spanish, literally mean “little meat” and are usually made from the pork shoulder (Boston Butt) which is a nicely marbled cut of meat. And these are so low maintenance and easy to make! If you’re really lazy you don’t even have to bother with searing, just throw the ingredients in a crockpot/dutch oven and you’re good to go.
I mean DAYUMN. Look at that meat. Crispy but soft and fatty at the same time… I might have just drooled.
Topped with Avocados, cheese, and some sour cream – I actually think this might be the best pork meal I have ever made. I hope you either get the chance to make or try some delicious Carnitas soon. This week. Tomorrow?
Sup – I’m a pile of pork. There are a ton of recipes out there for Carnitas, I thought I’d add some freshly squeezed orange juice to mine to give them a nice sweet flavor so I could omit the brown sugar. Good decision.
- 3-4lbs Boneless Pork Shoulder – chopped into 1 1/2” cubes
- 1 large onion, chopped fine
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1t chili powder
- 1T cumin powder
- 1 1/2t salt
- 1/2T cinnamon powder
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large orange
- 1T lime juice
- Oil for frying (optional)
- I have some wonderful pans. Truly wonderful. They are 5-ply aluminum and naturally non stick without the chemicals so I don’t really need to use oil or butter (but do for flavor and nutrition!) For this dish because it’s so fatty I didn’t bother with the butter and just seared my chunks of meat. If you like you can skip this step and just throw the meat in a crock pot with all the other ingredients. Make sure you rub the spices on the chunks of meat first! If you so choose, sear the chunks of meat over medium heat – just lightly. Remove from pan and set aside. Really, you can drain the fat later so if you’re worried about some butter or coconut oil… you picked the wrong recipe.
- Fry up the onions and garlic until fragrant and soft. Now what I like to do is add the salt and cumin to the onions. It is going to start to smell REALLY good.
- Add the pork bits back into the dutch oven (or at this point, throw the onions into the crock pot) and throw in the rest of the ingredients. What I do with the orange is squeeze out the juice and then add the peels into the mix. Cook on low for… well as long as you want! A minimum of 5 hours seems to do the trick.
- From here you have more options – hooray! First, shred the pork with two forks. It should be really tender and fall apart. If you can’t stand it any longer and simply must eat the Carnitas, go for it! I definitely didn’t make it to the braising step last time. But here is where the magic comes in if you have the patience. Shred the pork and add it back to the lovely fatty mixture. Mix it all up and discard orange peels and bay leaves. Then transfer to a skillet and broil for 5 minutes. Remove, stir the Carnitas around and broil for another 5 minutes. You will not be disappointed! They crisp up and the flavor just intensifies, simply amazing. I would discard the fat but if you can spare the calories/are on a bulk it’s friggin delicious. There you have it! Top with your favorite choppings annnd enjoy. Yum.