Mexican pulled pork carnitas made with succulent pork shoulder seasoned to absolute perfection. Great for tacos and burritos or sandwiches topped with tangy slaw and hot sauce.
Southern Pulled Pork
Roasted pork is the best. Am I right? Pork shoulder in particular because it has the perfect ratio of fat to meat if you choose a good cut. The meat cooks down to tender shreds aided by the moisture of the fat. It’s wonderful. Before I knew anything about Carnitas, there was Southern barbecue pulled pork. Southern pulled pork like Mexican pulled pork is seasoned with a good deal of spices and braised in a flavorful stock. It’s usually served on a hamburger bun topped with barbecue sauce and a side coleslaw or potato salad. An all American classic.
Mexican Pulled Pork Carnitas
Carnitas is very much like the Southern version, only using traditional Mexican spices. It too is stewed in the flavorful liquid until falling apart. It’s usually served in tortillas for tacos or burritos. My preference for serving in on a firm bun with slaw and a banging hot sauce.
I like to make carnitas in the crockpot. It can absolutely be done in the oven. Since I mostly make it in the slow cooker I’ll be sharing that method in the recipe card. However, if you decided to make it in the oven, you can follow the recipe but using a Dutch oven with the lid instead. It will cook for 3-4 hours until it’s falling apart when lifted with a fork.
I will either use a slow cooker liner or aluminum foil to line my crockpot. I place the pork along with the salt, spices, onions, and peppers then pour the liquid over everything. Turn the crockpot on high and let it go for 6 hours.
- Use a boneless skinless cut of pork. Try to select one with a good amount of fat but also mostly meat. You should see mostly flesh with fat marbles throughout.
- Make this early in the morning on high IF you will be near to monitor. Or overnight on low and let it cook for 8-10 hours.
- Shred the meat as soon after it’s cooked as you can so that it can soak up the juices.
- 3 lb pork shoulder pierced
- 1 large white onion chopped
- 2-3 serrano chilies seeded
- 6 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 c chicken stock
- 1/2 c pineapple juice
- 1/4 c soy sauce
- 1/4 c canola oil
- 1/4 c lime juice
- zest from 2 limes
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp ancho chili powder
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- Place the pork in the crockpot with the onion and peppers. Season the pork with the salt and spices. Pour the stock around the pork. Add the remaining ingredients to a blender and puree.
- Pour the contents over the pork in a crockpot. Allow it to cook on high for 6 hours until the pork is tender and falling apart.
- Serve as tacos or on a rolls with preferred condiments.