Slow-cooker Mojo Carnitas
Slow-Cooker Mojo Carnitas are an easy "set-it-and-forget-it" weeknight meal, but flashy enough for a weekend dinner party. I love to serve the carnitas buffet style, with a DIY taco bar featuring warm tortillas, salsa, garnishes, and condiments.
Servings 6 –8
FOR THE MARINADE
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- zest of 1 lime
- zest of one orange
- 4 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
- 1 cup cilantro leaves and stems, chopped
- 1 tbsp Mexican oregano
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 jalapeno thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ancho chile powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE MEAT
- 3 lb boneless pork butt roast
- 1 yellow or white onion sliced into thick rings
- 3 cups beef broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp rich-tasting lard see Recipe Note #1
Carefully rinse the pork butt roast with cold water. Pat dry with paper toweling. Trim excess fat from the roast. Stab the meat with a filet knife all over the roast to create deep pockets for the marinade to penetrate.
Mix the ingredients for the marinade in a zip-top bag. Add the roast. Marinate overnight.
Add the roast and marinade to a slow-cooker along with the onion, bay leaves, and broth. Cook on low for 8 hours.
Remove pork roast and cut into bite-sized pieces (or pull the pork, if you prefer). Remove bay leaves and onions with a skimmer; discard.
Heat the lard in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork to the skillet and fry until a brown, caramelized bark develops on the edges of the meat (but don't burn!). Toss with a few tablespoons of the juice from the crockpot and serve (see Recipe Note #2).
- Frying the pork in lard is an optional step that creates a caramelized bark on the outside of the meat and intensifies the porky flavor. You can skip this step altogether, or set the meat under a broiler until it browns up. Then proceed with the remaining steps.
- Make sure not to overcrowd the skillet: it may be necessary to fry the meat in small batches to get the caramelization you're after.
- I like to serve the pork as part of a taco bar, with warm tortillas, charred green onions, sliced jalapenos, rice, cheese, and condiments.