Carnitas were never top of my list of things to order at Mexican restaurants until a few years ago, when I was traveling to Charlotte to facilitate new hire training. My co-trainer and I took our new class of associates out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant one night. She had been to this particular restaurant before and recommended that we share the carnitas (because she knew how big the portions are and we had already ordered some appetizers for the table). I had traveled with her before and trusted her judgement so I went along with them. Oh. My. Goodness. They were awesome. Tender but with pieces that were nice and crispy too. Eaten with some tortillas and fixing, I loved them!
But because I knew that cooking in lard and then frying were integral to achieving the taste, I never tried to re-create them at home. Then I read a blog post about a tamale casserole that used carnitas on Pinch of Yum decided that I could give their slow cooker version a try with a couple tweaks.
We made the carnitas the first day and turned them into tacos and then later in the week made this casserole – that I’ll post soon too! The carnitas turned out nice and juicy and in order to re-create that crispy texture I loved from that Mexican restaurant, I popped it under the broiler for a few minutes.
Here’s what you need:
In the picture the bowl of spices is a mix of salt, cumin, chili powder, pepper, Mexican oregano, cinnamon, ground cayenne and chipotle powder.
Rub that mixture onto a 4-5 lb boneless sirloin roast. The roast I bought turned out to be two chunks once I removed the netting it came bound in.
Place into a slow cooker and top with 5 cloves of garlic that you diced up. Pour in some orange juice.
And some beer.
Now squeeze in the juice of 2 lines. You’ll find you can get a lot more juice by using a lime juicer, it gives even normal people Hulk-like strength.
There will be a lot of yummy liquid in there for the pork to cook in when you turn it on. Cook on low for 8 hours.
Here’s what it looks like when it’s done.
Shred the pork using two forks or meat claws.
Now to make it reminiscent of that Mexican restaurant and give it a little crispness. I put the pork on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzled on a little of the cooking liquid. Then broiled it for about 7-10 minutes until the edges started to get nice and crisp and brown.
Doesn’t this look good?
We served it as a street taco with a little mango sriracha sauce that I made by blending a mango, a few dashes of sriracha to taste, and 3 T of Greek yogurt. Then topped it with red onion, avocado slices, thinly sliced radish, cilantro and a little cotija cheese.
And of course saved the leftovers for the Carnitas Tamale Casserole we made later in the week – I’ll be posting that soon!
- 1 T kosher salt
- 1 t cumin
- 1 t ancho chili powder
- 1 t pepper
- 1 t Mexican oregano
- ¼ t cinnamon
- ½ t ground cayenne
- ½ t chipotle powder
- 4-5 lb boneless pork sirloin roast
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ c orange juice
- 1 limes, juice of
- 12 oz beer, such as an Alaskan amber
- Mix together the salt through chipotle powder in a small bowl. Rub the pork roast with the spice mixture and place in a 3.5 quart slow cooker.
- Top with the garlic, orange juice, lime juice and beer.
- Cook on low for 8 hours.
- Shred with a fork or meat claws.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and cover with a single layer of shredded pork. Drizzle on some of the cooking liquid. Broil for 7-10 minutes until the edges are crisp and brown.
- Serve with warm tortillas and the fixings of your choice.