Have you eaten at Chipotle Mexican Grill? Well, my family and I eat there on a regular basis. My daughter’s diet limits eating out a bit, but we have found Chipotle to be consistently delicious (they only use fresh ingredients) and not harmful to her tummy. (We skip the rice in our burrito bowls.)
After having Chipotle’s carnitas for about the 57th time, I decided to try and make them at home. I doubt that highly esteemed chef and owner, Steve Ells, would make carnitas this way, but I have to say – it has become one of our favorites. Does it mean I will forsake my beloved Chipotle carnitas? No way! But, it is nice to make a big batch at home and freeze the leftovers.
This recipe is easy to make and my husband, especially, oohs and ahhs over it. I hope you enjoy it too. Ingredients are important, so be sure to use good quality pork. I buy boneless pork shoulder roast (a/k/a pork butt, Boston butt or Boston shoulder) from my Whole Foods or Fresh Market.
Serve the Carnitas over a heap of cooked white navy beans and top with homemade salsa, guacamole and lettuce. The carnitas would be delicious in a grain free tortilla such as Simple Paleo Tortillas (Stupid Easy Paleo), Plantain Wraps (Simple and Merry) and Tortillas (Against All Grain).
- 1 (3-4 lb.) pork shoulder roast or Boston Butt with fat cap removed
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 5 bay leaves
- 1 orange
- 1 lime
- 1 onion, peeled and cut into eighths
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- Rinse pork roast and pat dry.
- In a small bowl, mix all spices together. Rub spices on the roast, coating all sides. Place in a slow cooker and turn on low. (Throw leftover spice mix into slow cooker.)
- Squeeze lime juice into slow cooker. Squeeze orange juice into cooker and throw in orange halves as well. Add bay leaves, onion, and smashed garlic.
- Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours, depending on slow cooker. The meat is ready when it can easily be pierced with a fork and fall apart. If it's still firm, it needs more time.
- When finished cooking, remove meat from slow cooker. It should be falling apart. Shred into chunks, removing the large pieces of fat.
- For the sauce - Heat a large pot on medium to medium high.
- Strain the sauce from the slow cooker into the pot, discarding the solids.
- Bring to a boil and reduce the liquid by about three/fourths. This should take around 10-20 minutes if yo are boiling it steadily. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Pour sauce over meat and carefully mix together.
- You can eat it at this point BUT the following extra step takes delicious to fabulous and is very easy.
- Line a rimmed cookie sheet with tin foil. Place a stainless steel cooling rack into the rimmed pan.
- Spread the meat (with the sauce incorporated) onto the cooling rack.
- Broil the meat for a few minutes until the edges are crispy. Watch carefully and do not overcook.