Carnitas Recipe

carnitasThe first time that I tried carnitas was in Chicago. There was a "super mercado" a couple of blocks from my apartment that sold them from a counter in the back of the store. Since then I have preferred carnitas over similar dishes that feature beef. Although this recipe takes a few hours to prepare, it's worth the wait. Carnitas have alot of flavor and they are inexpensive to make. For this recipe, I used corn tortillas (heated in the microwave for 30 seconds), the carnitas, salsa, cilantro, and diced red onions. Here is how you make them:

Recommended Equipment:
slow cooker

2 tbspn kosher salt
2 tbspn ground cumin
2 tbspn garlic powder
1 tbspn oregano
2 tspn coriander
1/2 pork shoulder
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup chicken stock
corn tortillas
+ salsa, shredded cheese, diced red onions, sour cream, and/or other toppings.

  1. In a bowl, mix together the first 5 ingredients to create a dry rub.
  2. Make several deep cuts into the 1/2 pork shoulder.  The idea is to create alot of surface area on the pork to apply the dry rub.
  3. Rub spice mixture from step #1 onto the pork.
  4. Place the pork in a large, covered bowl.  Refrigerate overnight.
  5. In the morning, place the pork into the center of the slow cooker.
  6. Pour the chicken stock around the pork. Try to avoid pouring the stock directly on the pork so that the spices stay adhered to the pork.  Drop in the bay leaf into the chicken stock.
  7. Place cover on the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  9. Shred the pork into smaller pieces, place them on a baking pan.  Pour some of the broth from the slow cooker over the shredded pork (about a cup) and then bake the pork in the oven for 30 minutes. This will create a bark on the carnitas.
  10. Remove pork from the oven.  Heat the tortillas (10 at a time).  Wrap them in a damp paper towel and heat them in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  11. Serve with rice, Cuban Black Beans, tortillas, guacamole, salsa, cilantro, diced red onions, shredded cheese and/or whatever toppings you like.  
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