Carnitas!

20150211_063009You guys.  Seriously.  This is one of the best recipes ever.  I can’t tell you how very amazing this dish is. As I was shredding it my fiance could not keep his hands away, and continually swiped chunks of meat.  Because it is that good.  This recipe also makes five whole pounds of beautiful, tender, succulent shredded pork.  So this blog is about to blow up with recipes for how to use carnitas.  I’ve got a whole mess of them!  To start, we’ll just make the carnitas themselves.

Carnitas are basically a Mexican style pulled pork.  A lot of recipes call for cutting your meat into little pieces and searing it, but those steps, to me, do not seem necessary.  The meat stay extremely tender and juicy just by putting it in the crockpot whole.  The crockpot itself serves to seal in the juice in the meat.  I also put my pork shoulder in the crockpot with the fat cap on the top, then covered it in fabulous veggies.  This means that the flavor cooked into the fat, which then dripped through the whole roast. Ugh.  So deliciou.  I seared my meat off in a hot skillet just before serving to get the little crusty edges, and voila! Magic is made! Sometimes when I am cooking, I feel more like a magician.

The other best part about this recipe?  It’s in a crockpot!  No need for hours of tending your meat over stove, or turning constantly in the oven.  I promise, you will not lose any flavor by doing it this way.  And it means that you can turn your crockpot on in the morning, go to work all day, and come home to a house that smells absolutely amazing.  Every time I use my crockpot, I manage to be surprised by the smell when I get home.  I never get used to it.  Love, love, love it.

The only difficult thing about this is the actual shredding.  It is such a huge piece of meat, that actually shredding all of it was a bit of an ordeal.  Just get out a large pan, set the meat in the middle, and rip away.  Fortunately, I had Obi handy to clean up any pieces that I accidentally flung on the floor.

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So here ya go!

Ingredients:

  • 5 lb bone-in pork shoulder
  • 2 T oregano
  • 2 tsp tarragon
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 jalepeno
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 oranges

Directions:

Sprinkle salt and pepper generously all over the meat.  I would guess you need approximately 1 T of salt, and 2 tsp of black pepper.  More or less as you see fit. Be generous.  Rub the salt and pepper in.  Next, mix together oregano, tarragon, parsley, and cumin into a rub mix.  Rub generously all over the pork, massaging it so as to get the rub into every single crack and crevice of the meat. Set in the crockpot with the fat cap on the top.

Chop the onion and jalepeno finely and mince the garlic.  Set right on top of the meat. Cut the oranges in half and squeeze the juice over the meat.  You do NOT need to add any other liquid to the pot!

Cook on low for 10 hours, or on high for 6.

When it is done, set the meat in a large pan and use two forks to shred.  You can let it cool for ~15 minutes if you need to.  Before serving, pour a little oil into a skillet and heat.  When the oil is hot, set desired amount of meat in the skillet and let the edges get a little crispy.  Then pour some of the juice from the crockpot into the meat just before serving.  For any meat you are not serving immediately, pour the remaining cooking liquid over the meat before storing in the fridge or freezer.

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20150211_204434Now get ready for all the fabulous carnitas recipes that are about to come your way!

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