Slow-cooked pulled pork carnitas

An outstanding dish for entertaining. All you need is a pot of this plus warm tortillas and taco fixings. Adapted from Recipe Tin Eats.

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder (aka pork butt)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoons black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 oranges, juiced (3/4 cup juice)

Spice rub

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Preparation

  1. Rinse and dry the pork shoulder. Sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper.
  2. Mix the spice rub – oregano, cumin and olive oil – and rub all over the pork.
  3. Place the seasoned pork in a slow cooker, fat cap up. Top with the onion, jalapeño, minced garlic (don’t worry about spreading it) and orange juice. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 6 hours.
  4. When done, the meat should fall apart when you try to lift it with tongs. Remove the meat from the slow cooker and let cool slightly. Then shred the pork using two forks.
  5. There should be 1 1/2 to 2 cups of cooking liquid left in the pot. If you have excess, you can reduce the liquid by cooking at a lively simmer (either in the slow cooker on the sauté setting with the lid off, or in a saucepan), skimming off extra fat if necessary. The liquid will be very salty. Set aside.
  6. Quick sear (optional): Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large non stick pan over high heat. Working in batches, place a layer of shredded pork into the pan and drizzle over some juices. Wait until the juices evaporate and the bottom side is golden brown and crusty. Turn and just briefly sear the other side. Remove pork from skillet.
  7. Drizzle cooking juices over shredded pork and serve immediately with warm tortillas and taco fixings, or bbq sauce and buns, or however else you’d like to enjoy it.

Serves 12.

Notes

  • Salt is a big seasoning here. I’ve already adjusted it down from the original recipe, but be sure to adjust it downward if you are making less meat than indicated by recipe.
  • Cooking overnight: for lunch time entertaining, you can cook the pork overnight in a slow cooker on low. In the morning add some water if the cooking liquid has cooked off. You can keep the pork on the warm setting for another 4 hours.
  • Electric pressure cooker (eg Instant Pot): cook 1.5 hours on high. Cook for more time if the meat does not fall apart when you pull at it with a fork.
  • To cook in the oven: add 1 cup of water to the braising liquid. Place in 325 degree F oven for 2 hours, covered, then roast for a further 1 to 1.5 hours uncovered. Add more water if the liquid dries out too much. You should end up with 1 1/2 to 2 cups of liquid when it finishes cooking.
  • To store for later eating, shred the meat without pan frying and store the juices separately in the refrigerator. Pan fry to reheat the meat, adding some juices to moisten.
  • To freeze leftovers: store meat in ziplock bags or airtight containers. Freeze in small batches for convenience. Defrosts easily overnight in refrigerator.

Here’s a link back to the post and pictures.