Well our big moving day is almost upon us…. Peter and I have been packing like crazy and moving as much stuff as we can over to the new house over the past couple of weeks, but we will finally do our big move this coming Saturday. We’ve roped my parents and Peter’s brother-in-law, Matt, into helping us out since they have access to pick-up trucks and trailers. Lucky for us, we only have to pay them in pizza and beer!
I’m so excited to actually live in this wonderful house that we’ve bought. I’m definitely not looking forward to the longer work commute (although I knew there was no way to avoid that, considering my commute right now lasts about 10 minutes), and I’m going to miss living so close to downtown, but Oak Creek has been expanding really quickly, and we’re looking forward to exploring our new suburb. I’m also super stoked for my parents to see the house in person this weekend since they’ve only been able to see it in pictures so far.
All this packing and moving hasn’t exactly been conducive to me cooking dinner, like, at all. I think these pork carnitas were the last thing I cooked (if you can even call throwing a hunk of meat into a crockpot cooking), and this was a couple of weeks ago. I’ve mainly been subsisting on cottage cheese, apples, and Skinny Pop popcorn (if you’ve never tried it, I recommend avoiding it at all costs. That shit is majorly addicting and it’ll ruin your life). I’ve even been running down to Whole Foods for lunch every day this week, which is totally unheard of for me since we usually have plenty of leftovers in our house available for lunches.
The great thing about these pork carnitas is that I was able to make them even with my life being so hectic right now. It’s such a super simple recipe, and it turns out so amazing.
For those of you who shop at Woodman’s (which is, in my humble opinion, the best grocery store on the planet), were you aware that there is a discount meat freezer? I love this thing. They toss any meat that is nearing it’s sell-by date (but not expired) in this freezer and sell it at a pretty steep discount. There isn’t always a lot of selection, and some of the meat can start looking kind of sketchy depending on how long it’s been in there, but I’ve found some great deals this way on bigger cuts of meat like roasts. A long time ago, I stumbled upon a couple of bone-in pork shoulders in the Woodman’s discount meat freezer and I snatched those suckers right up.
Generally speaking, I would pretty much never order carnitas when going out for Mexican food, but these pork carnitas are so delicious, it was hard for me to stop eating! After trimming the fat from the meat, the shoulder is seared on a hot pan to help retain the juices and flavors, and it also ensures some of the outside pieces get nice and crispy. Then all you have to do it rub on some seasonings, toss it in the crockpot with some chicken stock and peppers, and wait.
This is the perfect recipe for those times when you’re going to be out of the house all day, because quite frankly, if you have to be in the house smelling these carnitas cooking, you’re going to go insane. The smell is heavenly. And the taste is even better. The meat is only very mildly spicy, and it’s so tender that it kept falling apart when I was trying to take it out of the crockpot.
We had tacos that first night, and then I made a huge pan of my oven-baked brown rice so that we could make burrito bowls for the rest of the week (my cilantro-lime rice would work great). I ate pork carnitas every day for a week, and I couldn’t get enough!
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3-3.5 pound bone-in pork shoulder, trimmed of fat (if using boneless pork shoulder, use 2-2.5 pound cut)
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 3/4 tsp seasoned salt (I use Lawry’s)
- 3/4 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp dry adobo seasoning (I use Goya)
- 3/4 cup chicken stock
- 4-5 chili peppers in adobo sauce, to taste
- 2 bay leaves
- In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat olive oil. Season pork shoulder with kosher salt and pepper, then add to saucepan once olive oil is hot. Sear pork on each side, about 3-4 minutes per side, until brown on all over. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Season with cumin, seasoned salt, garlic powder, chili powder, oregano, and adobo seasoning all over. Pat seasonings into meat. Place shoulder into large crockpot.
- Pour chicken stock into crockpot, being careful not to pour directly onto pork shoulder so you don’t wash off any seasonings. Place chili peppers on top and on the sides of the pork. Place bay leaves on top.
- Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 8-9 hours.
- After cooking finished, remove pork from crockpot and allow to rest on a cutting board. Once cooled slightly, shred pork using 2 forks. Add about 1/2 cup of accumulated juices to meat and stir to combine.
Inspired by: Skinnytaste