On first look, carnitas and pulled pork look very similar. They both become shredded pork. But pulled pork is smoked and carnitas are usually braised in lard. This dish is neither, it's braised in orange juice and beer. You know, good stuff.
Actually, there was a thin layer of fat on the pork shoulder (or butt, if you will) and I didn't bother trimming it, so it was braised in some fat. Just not a bucket's worth! So carnitas lite, or what I'm terming carnitas Americano. Because it seems like crockpot cooking is very much a middle America way of life.
Not to spoil the story, but I do have to establish this one thing: this was the best thing I have ever made. Ever. I amazed myself.
It was perfectly juicy and crispy. And all I did was rub a hunk of pork with salt and spices then let it cook on low for 8 hours in orange juice and Hoegaarden. Oh, I'm sure you could use a Mexican beer, but we like our Belgian wheat beers here in the G+F kitchen. When I shredded it, broiled for a few minutes its own jelly, stuffed it in a taco with sour cream, cilantro, salsa, and avocado, it was divine.
Scratch that: it was the BEST DAMN THING I ever ate. Better than truffles. Yeah, that good.
I get a little hot under the collar just thinking about it.
Get the recipe at Pinch of Yum. It halves easily (ours was only 2 pounds, bought at Sprouts Farmers Market), but you will want to go for the full 4-5 pounds. This disappears quickly!
I recently discovered how to make carnitas (the kind that's braised in lard),and it's the BEST THING I'VE MADE ALL YEAR. Well, besides the homemade tortillas (both flour and corn) that I also learned how to make this year.
In fact, they're fabulous when paired together (carnitas and tortillas).
Perhaps someday, I'll try your "lite" version. :)
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