True story, kids. Once upon a time, I abhorred spicy food and wouldn’t touch Americanized Mexican food with a ten foot pole. Apparently taste buds do change as you grow up.
Russ and I went to Mad Mex a few weeks ago, and after getting our food and our bill, lamented that we could have made the meal at home for a lot cheaper and it may have even tasted better reheated. With Cinco de Mayo coming up, I thought, why not give it a go? Cue Crock-Pot Carnitas to the rescue. There are a lot of variations of this same recipe all over the internet, but I felt that they all left something very important out…
I was going to be “traditional” for a hot minute and use Corona in the Crock-Pot, but while at the grocery store, saw a four-pack of Lime-a-Ritas, something we embarrassingly admit to loving to drink in the summertime. They are so good, especially the raspberry flavored ones. They taste like the beach and will get you drunk in no time – so drink wisely. Pace yourself. It won’t hit until you stand up. Promise.
The below recipe takes less than a half hour to prepare and the Crock-Pot does the rest of the work. And these carnitas were just as good, if not better, than what we could get by eating out.
Easy Crock-Pot Carnitas Recipe for Cinco de Mayo
- Pork roast; we bought a large roast and cut it down to about 2 pounds, freezing the leftovers for use another time. This was the perfect amount of meat for Russ and I to stuff ourselves and have leftovers for several days. It would easily feed four in one sitting.
- Olive oil and skillet large enough to fit pork roast
- 4 to 8 ounces of Bud Light Lime-a-Rita (depends on how much you want to drink and how much you want to use with the pork)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 2 teaspoons cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 2 teaspoons minced onion
- The juice of one large orange (I also used a little of the flesh but not the peel, as it may have been too bitter)
- The juice and pulp of two limes
- Crack open the Lime-A-Rita. Take a few sips to loosen up.
- Take your roast from the fridge and let sit out for ten minutes or so to come down to room temperature. Then rinse, pat dry, and sprinkle half the salt and pepper on to season.
- Heat oil up in a skillet on the stove. Brown your pork roast at medium/high heat to get the edges all crusty. I do this with all meat before throwing it in the Crock-Pot, as it’s supposed to help it stay tender. Turn the roast so all sides are browned. This process should take about ten minutes total. Remove from the heat and let sit while you prep your remaining ingredients. It has to cool enough for you to be able to rub seasoning into it without burning your hands – this should only take a few minutes.
- While the roast is still browning, combine your dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. This will become your pork rub.
- In your Crock-Pot, pour half of the Lima-a-Rita. Try not to cry.
- Peel garlic cloves, throw them in the Crock-Pot, too.
- Juice both the orange and limes into the Crock-Pot. I left the small pieces of pulp and flesh from both in the juice; it didn’t have a negative effect on the pork.
- Now, take your pork roast and rub your dry seasonings in every nook and cranny on that sucker. Make sure it’s covered and massaged in well.
- Place the roast in the Crock-Pot. If you have leftover seasoning, dump it in, too.
- Cover, set the Crock-Pot on low, and cook for 8 hours. We started this around 10:30 at night and went to bed. It made for a nice impromptu brunch the next day.
- Once your roast has cooked and is falling apart, shred it into pulled pork. Save the liquid from the Crock-Pot. I repeat, save the liquid.
- Spread the pulled pork onto a cookie sheet, as seen, above. Make sure that it has sides! (Thought I’d leave this note here, just in case you hit the margaritas too hard the night before…).
- Then pour the liquid from the Crock-Pot over the meat.
- Put the tray under a broiler in your oven, on high, for five minutes. This will make some of the pork crispy and glazed, but without the mess of frying it in oil on the stove.
- Remove and serve warm, either straight with sides or in wraps.
We had ourselves an impromptu Cinco de Mayo picnic with these delicious carnitas. We served the meat in tortillas with jack cheddar cheese and shredded lettuce. I also mixed lime juice, honey, and mayonnaise into a dressing to serve with mine. It gave the carnitas a sweet edge, and I love sweet and spicy food combinations. Russ and I pigged out on homemade guacamole and chips, and “Coca-Cola from Mexico,” which my local grocery store was selling. Then more Lime-a-Ritas got involved, and well, let’s just say that the picnic turned into a success. Hope you enjoy this one! We sure did.
Note: I’m not in any way affiliated with Bud Light or Anheuser Busch. This isn’t a promotions post. My little blog is no where near that popular, haha. I just like the Ritas. Thought this was important to note! Thanks – Aubrey.