There are few things in the world more glorious than a meal that you prep in the morning, forget about for a few hours while you go to work or run errands or watch 6 back-to-back episodes of Project Runway on OnDemand (I can’t be the only marathon-TV-watcher here), and put the final finishing touches on a few minutes before sinking your teeth in. Thank you, slow cooker, for doing all of the hard work for me when I’m feeling exceptionally lazy and hungry at the same time. You’re a real pal, and I am forever in your debt for many a delicious meal.
But the most delicious meal of all to ever come out of my crock pot? It’s hard to say, but it just might be these Crock Pot Carnitas. I know what you’re thinking. Carnitas in a crock pot? But carnitas must be tended to, lovingly, and basted in lard until they reach that perfect flavorful crispiness! Well, that’s what I thought, too, until I found a recipe from Gimme Some Oven that changed the game forever. No lard. No hours spent hovering over a hot stove. Still very-much-so man-approved.
Can I just tell you that James has been RAVING about this pork for like 2 weeks now? He was picking at the pork in between the broiling stage and kept moaning over how good it was– it was hilarious. He also kept coming up with excuses to eat more. “You don’t need this piece, it looks kind of funny, I’ll just go ahead and get rid of it for you… by eating it.”
“I think maybe I should taste-test this again. You know, just to make sure it’s good.” Sure, buddy. Have at it.
He hardly spoke while eating the tacos, his concentration focused entirely on trying to pace himself and getting the perfect carnita-pickled onion-chipotle cream ratio in one bite. I could see it in his eyes. But afterward, I’m pretty sure I got about 5 times more “I love you”s and “You’re the best”s than usual. The way to a man’s heart…
It wasn’t just James who loved them, though. My whole family did, and yours will too.
I’m definitely going to make a repeat batch of these for the next football game, and probably for the “Classy Housewarming Party” that I was just invited to. (The invite reads, “We have the TV, stereo, and ping pong table set up – so we’re pretty much ready for a party.” Bachelor-level-class right there, haha!)
Really, after you make these once, you’ll just be looking for reasons to make them again and share them with everyone you know. Try them out for yourself and see!Print
Recipe slightly adapted (and added to) from Gimme Some Oven
For the quick pickled onions and jalapenos:
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeno, sliced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
For the chipotle cream:
- 2 teaspoons chipotle peppers in adobo, finely minced
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
For the carnitas:
- 1 (4-5 lb) lean boneless pork roast, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 3” chunks
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 12 oz beer
- 1 large white onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 chipotle in adobo, from can, chopped, plus 1 teaspoon sauce
- 2 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
For the tacos:
- 12–16 corn tortillas, toasted
- Cotija cheese, for topping
- Cilantro, for topping
- Start by making the pickled onions and jalapenos. Combine the apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a bowl and whisk until the sugar and salt dissolve. Put the onion and jalapeno in a sealable container and pour over the vinegar mixture. Let sit at room temperature while you prepare the cream and pork.
- In a small, sealable container, combine the sour cream, chipotles, and lime juice. Mix well and taste– add more adobo sauce if you like yours spicier, or more sour cream if you’d like to tame the heat. Cover and refrigerate.
- In a large skillet over high heat, heat the oil. When hot, add in the pork and sear until browned, about 2-3 minutes per side. Place the pork in the bottom of the crock pot.
- Add in the onion, beer, chipotle, garlic, and seasonings, and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Put the pickled onions and jalapenos in the refrigerator.
- After 6 hours, check your pork. When it easily shreds with a fork, it is ready to be removed from the broth and shredded.
- Preheat the broiler and prepare two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Scatter the pork around the baking sheets and ladle about 1/4 cup of the broth over each sheet of pork.
- Place one sheet under the broiler for about 5 minutes, then toss the pork and ladle another 1/4 cup of broth over. Broil once more, until crispy but not overcooked, and then ladle another 1/4 cup broth over the pork. Repeat with the second sheet.
- When the pork is done, serve it in toasted corn tortillas (I like to use 2 corn tortillas per taco to keep in all of the juices) with the chipotle cream and pickled onions and jalapenos. Sprinkle with cotija cheese and cilantro.