Tender, Crispy Carnitas

Tender, crispy pork carnitas… they’re what’s for dinner! and lunch! and maybe breakfast too!

If you’re looking for a recipe that makes a LOT for a little, these pork carnitas are it! you probably have all of the braising ingredients in the pantry and you can get any size cut of pork shoulder (also known as pork butt… seems like a very bizarre synonym) from your butcher. Whole Foods on Lemmon had an 8 lb. shoulder I had them cut down to just 2.5 lbs. for me and Ty – and if you watched my stories last night you saw just how much shredded meat it made! the little shoulder that could.

This juicy, tender meat can be used for tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, in salads and in bowls – you name it! added bonus: your house will smell heavenly as it cooks either in your slow cooker or on the stovetop! I’ve provided instructions for both. Enjoy!

Tender, Crispy Carnitas

An inexpensive cut of pork slowly braised in chicken broth, citrus and Mexican beer crisps up in the oven with a secret ingredient: coca-cola!
PREP10 mins
COOK4 hrs 10 mins
TOTAL4 hrs 20 mins
SERVING SIZE: 4 cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 2.5-3 lb. pork shoulder or "butt"
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 orange
  • 1 Mexican beer like Modelo
  • 1 7.5 oz. can Coca-cola soda
  • olive oil
  • salt + pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Bring the pork shoulder to room temperature. Drizzle with olive oil and season liberally with kosher salt and pepper.

If using a slow cooker:

  • In a sauté pan, heat 2-3 tbs. olive oil and when hot, add in pork shoulder. Brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes each.
  • Transfer the pork shoulder into the slow cooker pot, then lower the heat under the sauté pan to medium. Add in quartered onion pieces and sauté until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer onions and juices into slow cooker pot.
  • Cover the shoulder with chicken stock, Mexican beer and juice from one orange. You might need more chicken stock if shoulder is thicker!
  • Cover the slow cooker pot and set to High for 4 hours.

If using dutch oven/deep pot:

  • In pot, heat 2-3 tbs. olive oil and when hot, add in pork shoulder. Brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes each.
  • Add in quartered onion pieces and sauté until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Cover the shoulder with chicken stock, Mexican beer and juice from one orange. You might need more chicken stock if shoulder is thicker!
  • Bring stock to a high simmer and cover. Rotate shoulder every hour for 4 hours total.

To crisp carnitas:

  • After four hours either in slow cooker or pot, turn heat off and pull meat carefully from stock. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before shredding using two forks.
  • Place meat onto a cooking sheet lined with tin foil. Pour on coca-cola and 1/3 cup of reserved chicken stock, then place under broiler for 5-10 minutes!

NOTES

This juicy, tender meat can be used for tacos, quesadillas, enchiladas, in salads and in bowls – you name it! Will save in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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