I reaaaally love these slow cooked pork carnitas. I will make a huge batch and eat it throughout the week with absolutely no complaints. I use to be a big fan of BBQ pulled pork but these carnitas are just so much more versatile and flavorful, and much lower in sugar with no sweeteners needed.
And let me tell you, the slow cooker is by far the best way to look like a rockstar in the kitchen with the least amount of skill required. It’s almost impossible to do it wrong. Even if you are a total novice in the kitchen, I promise that you can make world class food.
Make sure to plan your time accordingly. This is the perfect Sunday Dinner, but it’s going to take about 8 hours all in, 6 hours to cook followed by another hour or two to cool down, shred, strain and remove all the non meat. Next, I like to crisp it up in a frying pan or under the broiler before finally eating, but this is definitely worth the wait. The juices, the tender pork… ugh I think I might need to go heat some up right now. And that’s the other thing…
Slow cooked food freezes so well. Since I am a single guy, cooking for one the ability to cost optimize is an important one. I can split the whole batch into 3 or 4 bags and freeze most of it while still having a weeks worth of fresh food. A month later, I can pull it out of the freezer and into a pan and the pork will crisp up like it was made that day.
- 4 lbs pork shoulder (6 if bone in - adds flavor)
- 4 oz chipotle peppers (half the jar from the picture above)
- Small can of ortega chiles
- 1/4 bunch of cilantro leaves dices
- ½ large white onion
- 2 limes squeezed and rinds added
- 2 teaspoons each: paprika, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin
- 1 cup bone broth (or water and 1/4 cup of oil/lard)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
Put it all into the crockpot and turn it on… just kidding, well kind of.
Start off by trimming some of the fat, typically a cut this size will have a ton of fat and it’s not all needed, plus you need to save room for all the other ingredients!
Cut the pork into 4 or 5 large chunks. If you are using a bone in cut make sure to keep the bone piece on the bottom of the crockpot as this will draw out a lot of good flavor and nutrients.
Dump everything into the crockpot and cook on high heat. My crockpot has 2 settings, hot and low. Low is good but will require a few additional hours.
6 hours later… Open the lid (try not to do this at all for the first 6 hours, you don’t want to let the heat out). Pick up a piece with tongs and if it feels like it’s starting to fall apart turn the crockpot off.
Remove the large chunks of meat and let them sit for about 30 minutes to cool off. Once cool enough you can start pulling the meat apart, removing any excess fat or other ingredients.
Strain all other fats and ingredients from the juices. This is a very fatty broth so don’t worry about “straining” out fat, there is plenty of it in that broth.
Add all strained juices and shredded meat back into the crockpot and let the meat soak it all up.
It’s ready to eat this way, but I LOVE putting it in a pan for a few minutes on high heat just to get it a little crispy.
Serve and enjoy! This goes in omelets, tacos, on top of a burger, as a meal, in a lettuce wrap and whatever other way you can think of. It goes with everything
This is a bit hard to calculate as most of the ingredients used are removed and you are just left with a much leaner batch of meat, with some very fatty juices.
According to the USDA Food Database, cooked pork shoulder is about 31g of protein and 28g of fat per cup of meat, which is roughly 394 calories and 66% fat. I’d say with the added bone broth/oil you can estimate the fat content to be slightly higher.