This recipe for Carnitas Pork is simple, it can be made ahead and seared to perfection when you’re ready to eat, it’s full of flavor and just in time for Cinco de Mayo. But this recipe is one you will use all through the year. I promise.
I like big butts, and I can not lie. Big, fat pork butts, that is; because big fat pork butts make the best pork for carnitas! The pork butt is slow cooked in a crock pot along with coriander seeds, bay leaves, dried ancho and arbol peppers*, and water. Once the pork is falling apart tender, it’s removed from the liquid, fork pulled, seasoned and ready either to sear, or refrigerator store to sear later.
That’s the Make-Ahead part of the recipe! Since Cinco de Mayo falls on a weekday this year, you can cook this pork this weekend and have it ready for your celebration feast.
Now, the searing part…I have gone authentic here and used lard. You don’t have to use lard, you can use any oil you wish…but let me tell you right now…oh, my stars! The lard makes it so flavorful!
I served it with tortillas and a pico de gallo made from fresh tomatoes, cilantro leaves, red onion, jalapeno, lime juice, salt and pepper. Since really pretty tomatoes are hard to come by still, I bought a package of beautiful colored cherry tomatoes (red, dark red, orange and yellow) and they tasted like summer.
Make this pork. You hear?
ps: the dried peppers are not hard to find. I get mine at my local Aldi. You can also find them at Mexican markets, and specialty aisles in most grocery stores.
- 1 -5 - 6 pound pork butt (the fattier the better)
- 5 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 2 dry ancho peppers
- 10 dry arbol peppers
- 2 tablespoons salt
- FOR SEASONING AFTER PULLED:
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- FOR SEARING:
- 1 tablespoon lard (or other oil of your preference) for each ⅓ of the pulled meat.
- Place the pork butt fat side up in a slow cooker and surround with the bay leaves, coriander seed, ancho and arbol peppers.
- Sprinkle with salt.
- Add water to about ¾ of the way up the pork.
- Cover and cook on high for 6 - 7 hours (you can't overcook this...so don't worry if you need to leave it longer than that).
- Once the pork is falling apart, remove from the liquid and allow to cool enough to handle.
- Using two forks, pull the pork into strands (discarding fat, gristle and veins).
- Lay the pulled pork on a baking sheet (spreading it out will help to evenly distribute the seasonings).
- Sprinkle with the cumin, coriander, garlic powder, and black pepper.
- Toss to combine well and ensure even coverage.
- At this point, the meat can be put in an air tight container and stored in the refrigerator, or is ready to sear.
- To sear, put a large skillet (I prefer cast iron) over medium-high heat and add the lard (or oil you are using).
- Once the oil is hot, take ⅓ of the meat and spread it over the bottom of the skillet and press it flat.
- Allow to sear, without touching it, for 5-7 minutes.
- It's ready to eat.