Carnitas! One of my favorite meats. Shredded pork that is crispy and juicy at the same time with all of our favorite Mexican flavors and a heavy dose of porkiness.
Carnitas are a fun alternative to our usual taco fillings, and are also pretty simple to make. The pork cooks in the crock pot and then gets shredded. (I like mine shredded very finely so I can get maximum crisping.)
Once pork is shredded, carnitas magic happens: All of the spicy pork goes into a super hot skillet to crisp up in its own fat. There will be sizzling and lots of good smells.
BUT THEN things get even better. This is the step that makes all the difference in carnitas-making: The garlic and chipotle pepper and some of the delicious pork juice from the crock pot get blended together and then poured on the crisping carnitas. There will be more sizzling and a whole lotta good smells. Flavor and juiciness will be at an all-time high.
Then you go forth and put this perfect meat on all the things: nachos, tacos, fajitas, burritos, enchiladas.
Our favorite use for carnitas is tacos! Since the meat has lots of good texture all on its own, you don’t even need additional taco fillings. Just a squirt of lime juice in a toasted corn tortilla and you will be in taco heaven.
Carnitas are PERFECT for taco bars! If I’m making carnitas for a crowd, I like to crisp them up and pour on the sauce and then transfer back to the (cleaned out) crock pot on ‘warm’. The crispiness will hold up for at least 4 hours.
If I’m making these carnitas just for the two of us, I will freeze whatever we’re not planning on eating after it’s been shredded and before it’s been crisped. I freeze the sauce in ice cube trays and pop a couple of cubes in the bag with the frozen pork.
- 1 (4-5 pound) boneless pork butt roast
- 1 medium onion, halved
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo (see note)
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- Place pork roast (fat side up), onion halves, garlic cloves, chipotle pepper, and cloves in slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano. Pour orange juice over pork. Cover and cook 5-6 hours on HIGH or 8-10 hours on LOW.Remove cooked pork roast from slow cooker and shred finely using two forks.Fish out garlic cloves and chipotle pepper and place in a blender along with 1 1/2 cups of the residual liquid and blend together.Place a large skillet over high heat. Once hot, add the shredded pork and cook for 5-7 minutes, until pork is your desired crispiness. Pour in the liquid and cook 1-2 minutes more.