Whether it's Cinco de Mayo, or just Taco Tuesday, this glorious Carnitas recipe will blow your taste buds! A staple of the Mexican diet, Carnitas translates to "little meat". It is, in its basic form, pulled pork that has been fried in a mix, which results in a crunchy exterior and soft interior.
The origins of Carnitas are lost to time, but some of its claimed birthplaces are Michoacán, Jalisco, Queretaro, or Hidalgo. While it's common to ingest Carnitas in taco form, it can be used a variety of ways, and with a multitude of condiments. Cilantro, onion, cheese, lime, and pico de gallo are some of the common additions. Carnitas are associated with festive occasions, particularly weekends or the traditional Sunday "mercado" or marketplace day in Mexico. This makes them perfect for you Cinco de Mayo celebration!
- 4 pounds (or 2 kg) skinless, boneless pork butt (or shoulder)
- 3-4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano (or Mexican oregano)
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 large brown or white onion, but into wedges
- 8 cloves garlic, mashed
- 2 limes, juiced
- 2 large oranges, juiced (or 3/4 cup natural orange juice)
- 3/4 cup coke (Original or Mexican coke is ideal)*
- 2 bay leaves
- Rinse and pat dry pork with a paper towel.
- In the bowl of a 6-quart slow cooker, add pork, sale, pepper, oregano, cumin, onion, garlic, lime juice, orange juice, coke, and bay leaves
- Cover and cook on low heat setting for 8-10 hours, or high heat for 5-6 hours (until meat is tender and falls apart)
- Remove pork and shred with two forks. Do not discard the liquid.
To Crisp in the Oven:
- Transfer the pork to a baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking oil spray (or lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
- Pour 1 ladle full (about 1 cup) of the liquid from the slow cooker over the pork to season. Broil for 5-10 minutes on high heat, until the meat becomes golden-brown, and crispy on the edges.
From here, you have the makings to do tacos or other applications. Pair this with your favorite side dishes and condiments to create an unforgettable spread!