The secret to perfect carnitas: a crispy crust on one side and tender meat on the other side. You need two tools to achieve this – a crock pot and a cast iron skillet. Together, these two can make magic happen on your taste buds. Make my 3-ingredient Paleo Naan – use it as a tortilla – and you’ve got one tasty taco.
I make carnitas all the time and they’re always a huge hit. This recipe though is by far my favorite. I think the it’s the combination of orange and lime juice mixed with spices like cinnamon and bay leaf that make it extra awesome. This is a great dish to make when you have guests visiting – because the crock pot does all the cooking. Once you’re ready to serve, just fry the meat on high heat in your cast iron skillet and then squeeze a little fresh lime juice on top. Perfection.
I recently made these carnitas when my in-laws came to visit us in Morgantown. They’re not paleo-eaters but they loved the dish! Roby and I took the fam to Coopers Rock and to Fallingwater in nearby Union Mill, PA. It was such a lovely weekend.
When we first moved to West Virginia, we weren’t sure what to expect. We had heard all these negative things – ‘there’s nothing to do,’ ‘just a bunch of rednecks’, etc. To all our friends who have and continue to make jokes… West Virginians are the brilliant ones – they’re probably starting these rumors to keep people like us from invading this beautiful and breathtaking state.
I’m looking forward to having more friends/family visit, so that we can show them around the area and also so that we can eat these carnitas again.
- 3 pounds pork shoulder
- 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper adjust to taste
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 onion coarsely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic minced (I used my garlic press)
- 1-2 serrano peppers minced
- 2 oranges juiced
- 1 lime juice
- 3 tablespoons ghee or as much as you need to fry your meat
- Put the pork in a crock pot and add salt, pepper, oregano, cumin and chili powder to both sides of the meat.
- Add the onion, garlic, serrano pepper, bay leaf and cinnamon stick on top.
- Squeeze the oranges and lime on top and then cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8.
- Shred the meat with two forks. Heat ghee in a skillet and fry the meat on one side until golden and crispy.
- Reserve the juices in the crockpot and pour some on top of the meat. Squeeze lime juice on top and serve.