Thursday, January 1, 2009


I always looked forward to carnitas night at my Dad and Aylene's pad. Like, cancel plans kind of looking forward. It's seriously one of my favorite meals ever and I was always really intimidated by it, thinking it was some complicated process since I know it takes all day.
Until I got a Crock Pot. A very sweet someone got it for me for Christmas (thanks Aleta!) and it will certainly go to good use.
Because I've been having CP fantasies for a while now, and Quinn and I were tasked with cooking dinner one night in Vermont and I wanted to showcase something my family does, carnitas were the obvious choice. I had no idea it was so simple! Jeezly crow, I'm going to make it once a month now I think. Especially since it can easily become pulled pork with the addition of some bbq sauce and a tasty slaw.

If you don't have a slow cooker, then please be prepared for globules of fat to go floating through the air borne on the steam produced by cooking this on the stove. Good luck.

For those of you with slow cookers, you'll thank me for how stupidly easy and delicious this is.

A big ol piece of pork - shoulder or butt, at least 3 lbs, but you can tweak that based on how many people you're feeding. Bone in or boneless, it matters not.
To get it to cook up a bit faster, chop it into smaller chunks if it's boneless.
I added a ton of garlic powder, somewhere between 1-2 tbsp for our 3lb slab, but you couldn't taste any garlic flavor on the end product, so I think I'll increase that a bit next time.
Then, I added just enough chicken stock/broth (or stock/broth and water if you end up needing lots) to almost cover the meat and set it to low for 6 hours or so, stirring once or twice.
If memory serves, it finished before the 6 hours were up, so keep an eye on things. When you can easily pull the pork apart with a fork and it's cooked through, you're in business.
Take the pork out and pull it apart with two forks and put in an oven safe container (we used one of those recyclable aluminum baking pans). Heat the oven to 350, sprinkle the pork with a generous amount of salt (half a tbsp or so), bake for 15 minutes; stir, sprinkle with another half tbsp of salt and bake for another 15 to ensure lots of crispy parts.

We serve this on tortillas with homemade guacamole, refried beans, Spanish or Mexican rice (yes, the boxed kind is fine - Zatarain's makes a great Spanish rice), shredded jack cheese, the green Tabasco sauce, and some nice, crunchy sea or Kosher salt.

* side note - we cannot actually remember how hot we cooked this so another test batch will be made this weekend. Call me if you're hungry and maybe I'll share.

**UPDATE - I cooked a 3lb piece (cooked whole, not cut into smaller chunks) for 5.5-6 hours on HIGH and it's lovely. This piece was mostly fat though, ew. Don't know if it affected the cooking or my ability to discern doneness.

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