Ok everyone, as you know, I am Cuban through and through and grew up on all things Cuban. Rice and beans were a staple in the Sanchez home and when we made pork… we MADE pork, Pernil style. Anyway, when I make a pork “Cuban style” I make my own flavorful “mojo” or wet rub, marinate the pork for 24+ hours, then slow roast it in the oven for 10+ hours on low heat. Hello, news flash people, many of us struggle to put a frozen pizza in the oven nonetheless do that much preparation in the middle of the week, right? And, yet, despite how busy we are, we still refuse to give up on taste and quality of food. Something has to give folks. For quite some time, I have been searching near and far for a yummy pork recipe that doesn’t take too much time but still falls off the bone like my native Pernil. For those of you who have been invited to my many Casa Cross parties know when I do cook my Cuban feasts I DO- IT- UP, but it is certainly an all day affair. This week I was in the mood for pork and I was getting tired of using pork tenderloin, “the other white meat” as they commonly refer to it. In my house, we always cook with pork tenderloin because it is so lean, so lean it has less saturated fat than chicken! Don’t believe me? See for yourself. Anyway, my intentions was to cook this 8-9lb pork shoulder I had in the freezer left over from a previous Casa Cross Bash. I wanted this pork to last for several meals and the result was a shredded goodness which Mexicans refer to as carnitas, Spanish for “little meats.” Usually Carnitas is roasted from a pork shoulder or Boston butt/ picnic cut and later deep fried. I don’t fry anything anymore so I tried to be creative with my rendition of Carnitas. If you are not a fan of the deep fryer, after it is shredded you can put the shredded beef on a cookie sheet and broil in an oven for 15 minutes and it will get the same crispy texture that it would when fried. Yum!
- 8lb pork shoulder/ Boston butt/ picnic cut
- Juice of 2 fresh oranges (it’s ok to add the pulp too)
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2 tablespoons of cumin
- 2 tablespoons of garlic salt
- 2 tablespoons of paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place your pork on a cutting board and cut off any excess fat. Since this is probably the fattest/ marbled meat I cook with I took off as much as I could with a knife. Too much “white stuff” on my meats scares me
- Rub/ massage in all the dry ingredients to both sides of the pork
- Pour or squeeze in this case the liquid ingredients/ juices from the lemon and the orange.
- Put pork in crock pot and cook on low for 10+ hours. Note, mine was still a little frozen in the middle so 10 hours was great for us. If yours is completely fresh or thawed out I would say do at least 8 hours and if it does not fall off the bone (see picture below), like mine did than keep cooking it for another 1-2 hours. Remember pork is very forgiving and rarely will dry out, especially a marbled cut like this is extremely hard to mess up. Also, as you can see I had to shove and cut off a piece or two off of my 8lb pork shoulder cut to fit it into my tiny 6QT crock pot but it did fit! As you will all begin to learn more about me, I always lean towards the “more is better” approach when it comes to food because I always love to feed people and doubling or tripling recipes is so much easier. We, in the Cross home, love left overs because not only are left overs tasty but sometimes I don’t have to cook two days in a row if there are left overs. I am also a strong believer that the more you have in your crock pot the better it will cook and soak up all your ingredients and make your meat moist. So eat up.
- Ok back to the recipe. Once cooked through and the pork easily shreds with a fork, you are ready to claim your wonderful pork. Now I am going to warn you this step is super messy and honestly not fun. I am not used to having so much fat to take off but don’t let this scare you from trying this recipe. If you take off the fat, you are left with delicious lean pork. The work I had to do (10 minutes) was worth it. You can take out the entire pork if you like from the crock pot to separate the pork but mine was so juicy and tender that the bone and the pork itself just fell off as soon as I tried to take it out. So for me in this particular case, it was easier for me to shred the pork from the crock pot. After I was done I let the oil congeal and then discarded it into the garbage. Do not put it down the sink. Trust me I will save you a plumber bill. Anyway after the messy part is over you are done and ready to eat for the next 2-3 days like a Q-U-E-E-N!
We ate the carnitas just like that in all it’s juices and goodness with roasted sweet potato and carrots. I put the carnitas on a cookie sheet, added some of the juice from the crock pot on top of the pork and broiled it in the oven. Once it was done, it came out like I mentioned above, crispy, juicy and delicious! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. And the best part was there was plenty of left overs. We had delicious pork for breakfast, lunch and dinner…for the rest of the week.
Do you have any meals like this that you make enough to feed an Army but keep chipping at it all week?
See your Recipe Book.