The other night my good friend Amy came over for some tacos. When I sat down to come up with what it was I was going to make, I immediately had to throw out the idea of vegetarian tacos. As much we are pretty much exactly the same (Dwight and Stew deserve some sort of knighthood for putting up with us) she’s not exactly on the “let’s eat more plants instead of meat” plan. Not a biggy. I know its not exactly for everyone and judging people for it is kinda not cool.
I started thinking what might be good for meat eating athletes like her husband. Especially since he’s such a big meat eater. What could they make ahead of time and be able to eat on for a few days? It took all of about 5 seconds before CARNITAS! popped into my head. It’s perfect. You can slowly cook the pork in the oven if you are going to be at home, but what is even better is that this is perfect, perfect and perfect for the slow cooker. I can’t stress enough how perfect the slow cooker is for athletes! It really does all the work for you while you doing something else.
I ended up doing a mix between a brine and a marinade. Basically a brine on steroids. The thought of making an olive oil marinade for a pork butt was making my arteries clog and my pants shrink just thinking about it. Quick side note: I’m going to try this with a pork tenderloin at some point and see what happens when I do low and slow with that.
Ok – back on track. All I did was put the pork in a big plastic bag with water, 1 orange, 1 lime, garlic cloves, black peppercorns, a couple bay leaves, cumin, oregano and salt. I mixed it all around and threw in the fridge over night. I just added flavor, not fat. The next afternoon I pulled it out of the fridge, placed the pork in a Dutch oven and poured the marinade over it. I left the the bay leaves and citrus in the bag. I then placed in a 325F oven, covered, for a few hours.
If you were wanting to use the slow cooker for the pork carnitas, I’d recommend putting it on low-medium all day long or overnight.
I personally like my carnitas tacos very simple with some pico, red onion and cilantro. You could easily do something like guacamole and pickled red onions too. Then if you wanted to branch out with leftovers – sandwiches like a Cuban would be fantastic or if you want to stick with the Mexican theme, enchiladas.
Related Recipe: Korean Pork Belly Tacos
Pork Carnita Tacos
- 1 - 2.5 pound pork butt
- 2 cups of water
- 1 orange
- 1 lime
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 3-4 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 12 corn tortillas
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- 1 red onion, chopped or made into pickled red onion
- 4 ounces feta cheese
- Sour Cream (optional)
- Place the pork in a large ziplock bag. Add in the water, the juice of the orange + the orange, the juice of the lime + the lime, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, peppercorns and kosher salt. Mix all around and place in the fridge overnight.
- Oven: Preheat the oven to 325F. Take the pork out of the bag and put in a large dutch oven. Pour the liquid into the pot with the fork. Leave out the citrus, bay leaves and peppercorn the best you can. Cover and cook for 2.5 - 3 hours. No longer than 3 because I think it would start to dry out.
- Slow cooker: The same as above but place the slow cooker on low-medium heat and cook 6-8 hours.
- Once the pork is fork tender, remove from the cooking vessel and shred with a couple forks. Serve with some cheese, cilantro and onions.
Egg Free, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Soy Free, Fish Free, Shellfish Free, Alcohol Free, No Sugar Added