My dad was in town and came over for dinner last night, so it was the prefect time to tackle of of my designated recipes. I knew he’d love carnitas, but I did NOT want to run the oven all day. I’m not joking when I say it was 113 degrees here yesterday! Luckily, I found a slow cooker version that looked perfect. And let me tell you, readers, it was yummy. So yummy I’m glad I had tons of leftovers. I think they’ll freeze well so I can save them for the first week of school when I am way too exhausted to even think about making a grocery list. I even think I’ll make it again in the winter, when running the oven for three hours is all I’ll need to heat the house for the day.
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 boneless pork shoulder roast, 3 to 4 lb. (I used bone-in and it worked fine)
1/4 c. olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 oz. Mexican lager-style beer (one bottle)
grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
grated zest and juice of 1 lime
1 TBSP dried oregano
warm corn or flour tortillas
chopped yellow onion
chopped fresh cilantro
cotija cheese (mild feta will work if you can’t find cotija)
1. In a small bowl, combine the salt and pepper. Season the pork roast generously with the mixture.
2. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the pork and cook, turning frequently until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and set aside.
3. Pour off all but a thin layer of fat in the pan (I didn't even have enough fat to worry about pouring off). Add the onion and garlic and sauté just until they begin to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the beer and deglaze the pan, stirring and scraping up the browned bits from the pan bottom with a wooden spoon.
4. Oven method: Preheat an oven to 350°F. Transfer the pork to a large Dutch oven and pour in the beer mixture. Add the orange and lime zests and juices and the oregano. Cover and cook until the pork is very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
Slow-cooker method: Transfer the pork to a slow cooker and pour in the beer mixture. Add the orange and lime zests and juices and the oregano. Cover and cook according to the manufacturer's instructions until the pork is very tender, about 5 hours on high or 10 hours on low.
5. Transfer the pork to a carving board and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Using a large, shallow spoon or a ladle, skim as much fat as possible from the surface of the cooking liquid. Using a large, sharp knife and a fork, coarsely cut and shred the pork into small bite-size pieces. (My pork was so tender, I couldn't even pick the shoulder up out of the slow cooker. I just skimmed off the fat, then used tongs to pull of the bone and shred the meat.)
6. Arrange the meat on a warmed platter or individual plates, moisten it lightly with the cooking juices, and serve immediately with the tortillas, lime wedges, chopped onion, salsa and cilantro. Serves 6 to 8.