I should title this post “Guess what I didn’t follow the recipe on exactly today?” But then, that would become redundant. I was so excited a week ago when I found this recipe after printing out the recipe for the corn salsa also on Better in Bulk. While my sister looked forward to the Barbacoa that I made with baited breath (including a few calls the day of to see if I had made it yet, what I planned to serve with it, etc.), I was salivating over the idea of being able to reproduce the Carnitas. They are my absolute favorite Chipotle’s meat.
It was so so so worth it!
This is one of my favorite dishes that I’ve ever made in the slow cooker. Josh was more in the “meh” category, but he did say that I can make it again. Muffin, on the other hand, loved it!
Now would probably be a good time to mention that I’ve never been really comfortable with “pulled” or “shredded” meat. Eating it? Most definitely. I can inhale me some chipped beef or pulled pork (not to say Chipotle’s carnitas). But the actual process of pulling it? I know that I’ve mentioned in the past that I cannot quite do the “two forks” thing. I can, however, do the one hand worthy of the burn ward (holding the meat) and the other pulling at the meat with a fork, making raggedy jabs.
But, as I said, I made it. It was yummilicious. But I did not quite follow the recipe.
Yup. I didn’t have whole cloves, so I used about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of ground. I could not find a boneless pork shoulder at Walmart. I could not find fresh oregano anywhere. Nor did I have dried chipotle flakes. I used crushed red pepper flakes instead.
Chipotle’s Carnitas Copycat in the Crock Pot
Adapted from Better in Bulk
1 (5-6 pound) pork shoulder (affectionately called a butt)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 of a red onion, chopped
6-7 Roma tomatoes, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons oregano, dried
1/4-1/2 ground cloves
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
3/4 cup water
1 chicken bullion cube
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until shimmery. Using kitchen tongs, sear pork shoulder on all sides. Plop in crock of slow cooker. Let it rest (although you need the rest after hefting the roast for a while) while you prep the rest of the ingredients. Dump all ingredients on top of pork.
Cover and cook on low 6-9 hours (I cooked mine for 7). By the way, this is probably not a job for smaller slow cookers like ‘Red. This is definitely time to pull out the Little Black Dress (my big programmable slow cooker, the bane of Josh’s existence, cleaning-wise).
At the end of cooking time, remove the bay leaves (and any bones if you couldn’t find a boneless one, like me). Hide the bones from Daisy (or your fur baby). Bury it deep in the garbage. Keep an eye on her to make sure she doesn’t dig it out while your back is turned shredding the carnitas. (Trust me. After today, I will find a better disposal method) Remove the pork to a 9×13 pan (if you are like me and they are a hoarded fetish for you, you have a few waiting to become the receptacle and working area for the pork). Use whatever method you are comfortable with (and won’t end you in the hospital with burns) to shred the pork. Return it to the juices and stir to make it all unctuous and delicious.
Serve in a burrito, over rice (especially cilantro-lime rice), or just in a big bowl with a spoon (I admit, I was more than tempted). Top with an assortment of toppings such as sour cream, shredded cheese (Jack or cheddar or a combo), onions, corn salsa, pico de gallo, salsa, lettuce, beans…the sky’s the limit. Repeat often and smile.
I should note that the picture was not a very well planned one since I had already devoured most of mine before I remembered ooooo….picture. Josh generously rearranged his plate in a presentable fashion (although not photo-staged to perfection) for it’s cover girl moment. Um. Yah. It was THAT good.
By the way, I’m having trouble with my desktop publishing software. I recently obtained The Print Shop Deluxe 3.5. I was mid-editing the photo for tonight when it crashed (and regardless of how many times I uninstalled and reinstalled the software), it wouldn’t open again. So, I ended up using GIMP, a program I am not comfy with (as you can probably tell from the “blah” titling above. Please please please (don’t say Photoshop because that ain’t gonna happen) let me know what program you feel comfy using.