Disappointed when you get carnitas at your local Mexican-ish joint? We were too – we really hated getting somewhat dry, somewhat flavor-less pulled pork that a lot of places pawned off as carntias. With this recipe, we can show you how to do a much better version, that’s simple, takes very little prep time, and will always be amazing for an at-home Mexican meal. And great for parties.
If you’ve ever traveled to Mexico, or gone to a truly authentic Mexican restaurant, you’ll know that carnitas are made in a method somewhat similar to French confit; pork is braised in lard and then deep-fried in more lard for a texture that’s remarkably juicy and tender without sacrificing crisp edges. This takes a lot of work, and having all that lard hanging around is just not very appealing. We worked with a number of different recipes, went through a lot of pork (our friends and neighbors were thankful for even the not-so-perfect versions), and came up with a recipe that came oh-so-close to the authentic version.
As a bonus, we’re giving up our famous pickled onion recipe. Actually, it’s pretty easy, and not so secret.
And notice that there is our wonderful Mexican Street Corn on the plate – check out the recipe HERE.
Print Recipe Easy Delicious Carnitas
We love pickled onions! They will keep, refrigerated, for a few weeks and they don't have the "bite" of raw onions. And they look pretty.
Pat the pork dry, rub 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil on the pork shoulder, then rub with the Serious Foodie spice blend. Let sit for 15-30 minutes at room temperature, or 2-3 hours in the fridge.
Transfer the pork shoulder to a slow cooker, or a Dutch oven and add the onion, garlic, jalapeño, orange, and lime juice. If you need more liquid, add some water. Cover and cook on low for at least 6 hours. If using a Dutch oven, place in the over at 250 F,
Once the meat is tender, remove from the pot and let cool slightly. Using two forks, shred the meat by pulling the forks in opposite directions. Season the meat with salt to taste. We like to de-fat the liquid in the pot by placing it in a tall container, put in the refrigerator for a few hours, and just skim off the top. Adding the meat back into the cooking liquid for a few hours, or overnight, makes for very flavorful meat.
Preheat the oven to the broil setting. If the pork looks dry, toss the pulled pork in a bit of vegetable oil - not too much. Spread the carnitas out on a rimmed sheet pan and broil until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
Add the carnitas, chopped cilantro, and pickled red onions to each tortilla. Serve with lime wedges.
The trick to making truly delicious, quick pickled onions is to slice the onions thin (about 1/8-inch), so they soften up and absorb the vinegar quickly. You can do this with a sharp chef’s knife or a mandoline. Place the onions in a large bowl, preferably glass (which will not react with the hot vinegar solution).
In a small saucepan, combine the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and (optional) red pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat, then carefully pour the mixture over the onions. These are ready in 30 minutes. Place any remaining onions and the liquid into a glass container, and refrigerate. They keep for 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator.