You guys. I just looked at the date of my last post and it was almost 2 MONTHS ago! What?!
I wish I could tell you it’s because I’ve been vacationing or sunbathing or eating gallons of ice cream while sipping strawberry mojitos, but the truth is not nearly that fun. I’ll spare you the boring details and just leave you with two words that sum it all up: master’s thesis.
Anyway, I just had to pop in and fill you in on these super flavorful, you’ll-never-believe-they-came-from-a-slow-cooker pork carnitas.
There’s a restaurant here in Louisville that makes amazing carnitas. They’re crispy yet tender, doused in house made salsa verde, and garnished with zippy pickled red onions, decadent crema, and tangy lime wedges. It’s one of my favorite dishes in the city, and I’ve been dying to recreate it at home. Well last week I had the opportunity to do just that. And guess what? Landon thinks they are even better than the original!
The spices, garlic cloves, and citrus really shine through in the finished pork and add such a unique yet authentic flavor, and the poblano adds a little bit of smoky heat to the dish.
Slow cooking the pork makes it super tender and juicy, but what really sends the texture over the edge is taking the hunks of cooked pork, spraying them with a bit of oil, and broiling them until crisp. The result gives the same traditional carnitas texture without having to actually fry the meat. So the slow cooker does all of the hard work and you get the same delicious meal. Sounds like a good idea to me!
You can eat these carnitas alongside rice and black beans or pile them on top of soft corn tortillas and make tacos out of them. Either way, I suggest accompanying them with salsa verde, crema, quick pickled red onions, lime wedges, and a bit of cilantro.
Your family is going to love this meal!
We’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming next month, friends. Until then, I hope you soak up every bit of summer that you possibly can!
- 1 (4-4.5 lb) pork shoulder (I used a 4.5 lb bone-in)
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (crush with fingers to release the goodness)
- 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 medium onion, peeled and halved
- 1 poblano pepper, seeded and diced
- 4 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 2 limes, zested and juiced
- 1 orange, halved
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- Possible accompaniments: fresh corn tortillas, salsa verde, quick pickled red onions, crema, cilantro, rice, and black beans
- Prepare pork by trimming of excess fat and cutting into 8 chunks. If you have a bone-in pork shoulder, trim around the bone, leaving some meat on it. Throw the pork pieces (and bone, if you have it) into the bottom of a slow cooker.
- In a small bowl, mix together the cumin, oregano, chipotle chile pepper, and kosher salt.
- Rub the spice mix onto the surface of the pork. Sprinkle pork with lime zest.
- Add onion, diced poblano, and crushed garlic to slow cooker. Squeeze juice of one orange into the slow cooker. Add squeezed orange halves to the bowl of the slow cooker. Then add lime juice and chicken broth to the bowl of the slow cooker. Rest 2 bay leaves in the liquid.
- Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours.
- When pork is finished cooking, preheat your oven’s broiler. Prepare a baking sheet by covering with foil and spraying with cooking spray.
- Remove poblanos and chunks of pork from slow cooker and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Leave the chunks of pork whole; don’t shred – this is important!
- Spray the pork chucks with oil. Broil until the outside of the pork is crisp (takes just a few minutes). Turn the pork pieces over, spray tops with oil, and broil again until the other side is crisp.
- Remove from the oven and serve! We shredded our pork and made tacos with fresh corn tortillas, salsa verde, quick pickled red onions, crema, and cilantro. It would also be great alongside rice and black beans with the same accompaniments.