I know, weird name huh? I bet a lot of you are thinking “What the heck kind of recipe is that!?” Well, you’re going to have to trust me on this one…and just keeping reading because I promise it will be well worth it!
I don’t know why I have such a fascination with my crockpot lately, but I do! Whenever I see a recipe with “crockpot” in the title…I’m instantly intrigued, and when you add the word “carnitas” you’ve got me – hook, line, and sinker! So when I saw this recipe for Crockpot Carnitas from Lindsay at Pinch Of Yum I was a goner. But it gets better! They are EASY Crockpot Carnitas! I don’t think it’s possible to get any better than that right there.
Carnitas, literally means “little meats,” and is a type of roasted pork in Mexican cuisine. It can be eaten by itself, but we like it as the main ingredient in tacos, and burritos.
It all starts out with a good-sized pork butt. Don’t make the mistake (like I did the first time I made this!) and buy a pork ROAST. While it will still TASTE good, it will not be the nice, tender, carnita-type meat you’re looking for. Once again, trust me on this one.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Twice-Baked Crockpot Carnitas
adapted from Pinch Of Yum
6-8 pound pork butt
5-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup orange juice
12 ounces cola
1/2 cup salsa (I used Pace chunky salsa from a jar)
Like I said, start with a 6-8 pound pork butt and place it in your crockpot with a generous amount of finely-chopped garlic on top. You could also used the minced stuff in the jar in a pinch.
Then you’re going to make a lovely seasoning combination to put on top of the meat.
You can just sprinkle each spice on separately, or you could mix them all together like I did.
It may seem like a lot of seasoning, but that is one of the signatures of good carnitas, highly-seasoned meat.
After you have covered the meat with this wonderful seasoning mixture, then it’s time to add the liquid. Start with the lime juice, then add orange juice, cola (I used Dr. Pepper because that’s what I had on hand), and salsa (jarred or homemade, your call.)
Now it’s time to cover this baby up and let the crockpot do its’ thing for 6 to 8 hours on LOW. (If you are in a time crunch you can do 3-4 hours on high, but it won’t be as “fall-off-the-bone tender”).
When the 6-8 hours are up you should be able to shred the pork without hardly even touching it! It quite literally will fall off the bone when you start prodding at it with two forks.
Here is a picture of the bone after I got done shredding the pork. Clean as a whistle!
After you have shredded the meat, transfer it to a baking sheet and spread it out in an even layer. You might want to foil your pan first for easier clean-up, but I didn’t and clean up was not a problem. Spoon some of the juice from the crockpot on top of the meat.
Preheat the broiler in your oven and put the pan in for 5 to 10 minutes or until the edges of the meat start to brown. Remove the pan from the oven.
Here’s where this recipe gets its’ crazy name! When I took the meat out of the oven the first time I thought it looked great….but as I started taking it out of the pan and putting it onto a platter I noticed that only a small percentage of the meat in the pan had that nice browning on it. So I decided to stir and turn the meat with some tongs and put it BACK in the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes. Thus the name “Twice-Baked Crockpot Carnitas”.
When it came out….perfection! LOTS of nice brown edges on the meat. I also spooned a little more of the juice on the meat at this point to moisten it up a bit.
Like I said earlier, you can eat this just like it is…
….or you can put it in tortillas and fashion it into whatever you please. We used corn tortillas and garnished with cheese, tomato, cilantro, sour cream, etc.
I’m telling you, this is SO delicious!! The flavor is amazing to begin with, but when you add the “twice-baked” method, it is out-of-this-world good!
I hope you will give it a try and let me know how you like my “twice-baked” carnitas!
If you have an extra minute….I would love it if you would
Thanks so much!