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My BIG FAT Grain Free Life: Carnitas! (Mexican Pulled Pork)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Carnitas! (Mexican Pulled Pork)

Have you eaten at Chipotle Mexican Grill?  Well, my family and I eat there on a regular basis.  My daughter's diet limits eating out a bit, but we have found Chipotle to be consistently delicious (they only use fresh ingredients) and not harmful to her tummy.  (We skip the rice in our burrito bowls.)

After having Chipotle's carnitas for about the 57th time, I decided to try and make them at home.  I doubt that highly esteemed chef and owner, Steve Ells would make carnitas this way, but I have to say - it has become one of our favorites.  Does it mean I will forsake my beloved Chipotle carnitas?  No way!  But, it is nice to make a big batch at home and freeze the leftovers.

This recipe is easy to make and my husband, especially, oohs and ahhs over it.  I hope you enjoy it too.  Ingredients are important, so be sure to use good quality pork.  I buy boneless pork shoulder roast (a/k/a pork butt, Boston butt or Boston shoulder) from Whole Foods or Fresh Market.

Serve the Carnitas over a heap of cooked white navy beans and top with homemade salsa, guacamole (both recipes to come soon) and lettuce.  If you or your peeps can tolerate grain, they'd be good in a flour tortilla OR a delicious grain free version such as The Spunky Coconut's grain free tortillas.
Carnitas! (Mexican pulled pork)  gluten free, grain free, dairy free

**This recipe can easily be doubled.

1 (3-4 lb.) pork shoulder roast (See note below.)
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
5 bay leaves
1 orange
1 lime
1 onion, peeled and cut into eighths
4 cloves of garlic, smashed

NOTE:  This recipe works with boneless or bone-in pork roast.  Depending on where you get it, it can have a thick layer of fat on top.  If so, trim most of it away, leaving a thin layer.  Whole Foods and Fresh Market do a great job of selling it already trimmed.

Rinse pork roast and pat dry.  In small bowl, mix all spices together (oregano through pepper).  Rub spices on the roast, coating all sides.  Place roast in slow cooker and turn on low.  (Throw any leftover spices in slow cooker.)

Squeeze lime juice into slow cooker.  Squeeze orange juice into slow cooker and throw orange halves in as well.  Add bay leaves, onion and smashed garlic.

Cover and cook on low 10 hours.  Remove meat from slow cooker - it should be falling apart.  Shred into chunks, removing large pieces of fat.

Now, for the sauce....ohhhhh the sauce!  Heat a large pot on medium to medium high.  Strain the sauce from the slow cooker into the pot, discarding the solids. 

Bring to a boil and reduce liquid by about three quarters.  This should take around 10-20 minutes if you are boiling it pretty steady.  The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon or spoonula.  (When in doubt, keep reducing.)

Pour sauce over meat and carefully mix together (folding sauce into meat).  

You can eat it at this point BUT - the following extra step takes delicious to fabulous and is very easy:

Line a rimmed cookie sheet with tin foil.  Place a stainless steel cooling rack into rimmed pan.  Spread the meat (with the reduced sauce incorporated) onto the cooling rack.  Broil the meat for a few minutes until the edges are crispy.  Just a note: WORTH THE EXTRA STEP!  

My mouth is watering right now.  Enjoy!



At October 11, 2011 at 9:46 PM , Blogger HealBalanceLive said...

We absolutely loved the Pork Carnitas! Thanks for a great recipe :)


At October 11, 2011 at 9:58 PM , Blogger Jen said...

I'm SO glad you liked the recipe! Thank you for trying it and for the encouragement!

At September 16, 2012 at 1:52 PM , Blogger Olga said...

Making Carnitas again and thinking about you! Thanks for the inspirational recipes. I hope we can get together again soon.

At September 16, 2012 at 1:53 PM , Blogger Olga said...

Ooops - you know me as Dawn - not Olga! Ha!


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