(Sorry there are no photos because I realized something: I suck at photographing meat. It was also so delicious that it didn’t last long.)
When I was a little kid my idea of Mexican food consisted of bean and cheese burritos and chips with bean dip. I didn’t even venture into salsa until well into my teens. I know, I was the whitest little kid ever. I remember my mom would get batches of homemade tamales from her friends and I would never eat them. They looked weird. What was with the leaves they were wrapped in? No thank you.
Now that I am well into my adulthood and also dating someone who knows his way around some good Mexican food there are now several things I love, tamales among them. Every once in a while Vahid will make wonderful frijoles from scratch and they are the best thing ever. About once a month I will make a big batch of carnitas and we eat them throughout the week. Usually I would make them on the stove cooking them for a few hours. Recently I have adapted the recipe to make them in the slow cooker which is so much more convenient. I can set it to cook overnight and wake up to wonderful delicious food in the morning.
Slow Cooker Carnitas:
- 3 lbs pork shoulder, cut into chunks
- 2 stips of bacon to line the bottom of the slow cooker (optional)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 tablespoon oregano
- ground black pepper or ground nigella seeds to taste
- apple cider vinegar
- (optional: ½ teaspoon ground garlic or one chopped up garlic clove; dash of onion powder, dash of cayenne pepper)
- Chop of your pork into about 2 inch chunks
- Line the slow cooker with strips of bacon if using then cover the bottom with the pork
- add your seasonings as evenly as you can. (Note: if using the optional seasonings you can omit the oregano. I try to limit my garlic and onion consumption due to the cognitive effects they can have and sometimes cayenne upsets my digestion so I sub oregano to add a delightful flavor)
- cook on low for 8-10 hours
- Pork should be soft and easily pulled apart when done
- After cooking add some apple cider vinegar to the cooked pork. It adds a delightful tartness to the meat
Now I’m sure this isn’t an authentic recipe or anything but I call it carnitas and it’s delicious in a taco or burrito or anything else you want to put it in. It has a great taste and is savory with just the right amount of flavor and is great as a base for guacamole or salsa. Sometimes I’ve even added some to my eggs to make a quick scramble in the morning.
If you try out this recipe let me know how you like it. I’d love to hear your thoughts.