Sunday, February 21, 2016

Crockpot Pork Carnitas

Honestly, I am not a huge pork fan ... unless it's bacon because, duh. I will give you a little background of why I decided to make carnitas. There is a cafĂ© on the California delta... right on the water... that my husband and I go to regularly. It's like our version of Cheers. My husband proposed to me there, we had our rehearsal dinner there, and we are there at least a few times a month for breakfast. Even more if it's summer! It feels like home and is very near and dear to my heart. Anyway, my husband would always order the "carnitas scramble" for breakfast... for years! And it never, ever sounded good to me. One day about a year ago I finally decided to try it and I was hooked. It is an egg scramble with carnitas, grilled onion and jalapenos, served with beans, home fries and tortillas. SO GOOD, especially with a bloody mary during a hangover. After a while, I thought I should try my hand at carnitas. I found a few different recipes then just made one up based on what I had and what I like. During my research phase, I found out the traditional way carnitas is made is basically braised in lard. That was not happening in my crockpot. So I assume my version is a little healthier. Don't be afraid to play around with the seasoning and spices.

What you will need:
3-4 lb pork shoulder - I got a REALLY lean cut and it still turned out phenomenal.
1 bottle green taco sauce
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne
2 cups beef broth or water
1 whole onion (I only had red but I think yellow or white would be better).

Cut the pork shoulder into chunks and pierce each chunk with your knife - this helps all the flavor soak into the meat a bit more. Season with salt and pepper and throw into the crockpot. Mix the remaining ingredients, except the onion and broth, in a bowl. Pour this mixture over the pork. Slice your onion and sprinkle the slices over the pork and seasoning mixture. Add the broth into the crockpot (just pour down the side so that is covers the bottom)


Put your lid on and turn the crockpot on high for 6-8 hours or low for 8-10 hours.

Once the meat is done, it will basically fall apart if you just look at it. 


Preheat the oven to 325. Transfer the meat to a foil lined and greased baking sheet and shred. Pour about a half cup of the liquid in the crockpot over the top. Bake for another 45 minutes - this will get it crispy like your traditional carnitas. When shredding the pork, toss out any huge chunks of fat. My cut was really lean, so I didn't have too much. And that's it! 

We made carnitas burrito bowls for dinner and had tons of leftovers for a few different batches of homemade carnitas scramble :) Enjoy!

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