The Country Cook: Crock Pot Pork Carnitas

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Crock Pot Pork Carnitas

I'm pretty sure pork is like my favorite meat ever. I am from Virginia and we are pig country here. And when you cook it low and slow in its' own juices - have mercy! So, with Cinco de Mayo around the corner, I thought we needed to add a little Mexican flair to our pulled pork. Enter....Carnitas. It just sounds good, don't it? Mexican-inspired spices flavor the pork and a little twist at the end of cooking to give us some crispy pork pieces. Is your mouth watering yet?
I had never actually made my own carnitas before. I have certainly eaten my fair share of it but never actually made it myself. But, here's the thing, the slow cooker makes this process a lot simpler and I don't have to babysit the meat. I can pop it in the crock pot in the morning and just let it do it's thing. 
And Cinco de Mayo is on a Tuesday this year and well, most of us are working which doesn't leave a whole lot of time for planning a big ole party. So, here's what you you do. You prep this pork the night before with the seasonings. Wrap it up in plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge. In the morning, before work, put it in your slow cooker and set it on low for 10 hours. When you come home, all you have to do is finish the preparations. Have your friends and family help out with this part. Food is meant to be prepared and shared together.
Then, the fun part - serving!! My fun little twist on this (and because the kiddos love it too) is to serve the pork in the new Ortega Fiesta Flats. Have you seen these? They make the perfect little holder for your pork and toppings - plus they taste darn good. 
Carnitas are traditionally served in soft corn tortillas with sour cream, avocado, sliced radishes, cilantro, etc. But these Ortega Fiesta Flats are a cool little twist. The crunch of the Fiesta Flats along with the tender pork and toppings is just incredible! Definitely make these a part of your celebration or to have fun with your everyday weeknight meals. 
Put toppings out in bowls along with the pulled pork and serve it all buffet-style. If you have kiddos, this is a great way for them to serve themselves. When kids hit a certain age, they like to be able to put together their own food. My 9 year old son loves when he can put together his own food creations and it gets him to try new food and what Momma doesn't love that! They're like little Carnita Boats. Hey, that's a fun little name! You should totally call these Carnitas Boats for your kids! Boom!
1 - 6 to 8 pound boston butt (pork shoulder roast)
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
1/3 cup creole seasoning
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 lime
toppings for serving (shredded cheese, sliced avocados, sliced radishes, sour cream, chopped cilantro, pico de gallo or Ortega® Salsa, any variety, etc.)
Unwrap your roast and gently dry with paper towel.
Combine salt and spices in a small bowl and mix well. 
Rub the roast with oil (this will help the spices stick better.)
Then coat with spice mixture.
Get it all over the roast and rub it in well.
Wrap well with plastic wrap. I have a big roast here so it took a lot of plastic wrap.
Pop the roast into the refrigerator and refrigerate overnight (if possible.)
The next morning, unwrap the roast and put it into to crock pot (fat side up) on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours. No additional liquids are needed for cooking. The pork will cook in its' own juices.
When finished cooking, remove roast from crock pot and set aside onto an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Then pour 1/2 cup of the rendered cooking liquid from the crock pot into a glass measuring cup. Shred roast into chunks and remove the shoulder bone and fatty pieces and toss those. 
The meat will be very tender so this part will be a breeze. 
Cut lime into wedges and squeeze juice all over pork. Toss the squeezed lime wedges into the pan with the pork for extra flavor. (At this point, go ahead and turn the broiler onto 'High" on your oven)
Drizzle 1/2 cup of the rendered cooking liquid over the pork. 
Place baking sheet on the middle oven rack and broil on high until pork pieces begin to sizzle and crisp up (about 5 minutes.)
Remove from oven and serve with Ortega Fiesta Flats and desired toppings. Ole!
My mouth is watering now!

Recipe inspired by South Your Mouth
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Ortega. The opinions and text are all mine.