Chile & Coke Carnitas

Ingredients

  • 4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn (we left the chiles whole, stem included)
  • 2  dried chipotle chiles, stemmed (we left the stems on)
  • 2 white onions, chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
  • 1 can cola (12 oz.) (we used caffeine-free coca-cola)
  • 1 Tbsp. each ground cumin, ground coriander, dried oregano, kosher salt and black pepper (we used freshly ground black pepper)
  • 1 bone-in pork shoulder roast (5-6 lb.)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar (we used light brown sugar)
  • Salt to taste (we used kosher salt)
  • Flour tortillas (we used taco-sized tortillas)
  • Toppings: pickled onions (we made ours using the recipe for pickled onions found in the Deviled Egg Macaroni Pasta Salad recipe), pickled radishes (we made ours based off the recipe within the Smoky Pork BBQ Sandwiches recipe), crumbled cotija cheese, cilantro sprigs and lime wedges

Directions

  1. Take a skillet out and set the heat to medium. Place the chiles in the skillet, toasting them for 5 minutes or until fragrant (we turned the chiles occasionally during that time). Take a 7-qt. slow cooker out and add to it the toasted chiles, onions, garlic and cola.
  2. Mix the tablespoon of salt, cumin, coriander, oregano, and pepper together, rubbing the mixture all over the pork, placing the pork in the slow cooker afterwards. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook the pork on HIGH for 6 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone.
  3. Take the pork out of the slow cooker and place it on a cutting board. Once it’s cool enough for you to handle, shred the meat. Don’t put the meat in the slow cooker just yet.
  4. If you left your chiles whole like us, now would be the time to remove their stems returning them to the slow cooker afterwards. Skim what you can of the fat from the surface of the liquid in the slow cooker, throwing the fat away afterwards. Take a hand blender* and puree the liquids and solids in the slow cooker. Add the lime juice, brown sugar and shredded pork to the slow cooker, stirring to combine. Take a bite and season with salt if needed.
  5. Serve the carnitas in the tortillas, adding on the toppings afterwards.

*We didn’t have a hand blender so we just put the cooking liquid, chiles, onions and garlic into a regular blender, pureed the mixture and poured it back into the slow cooker afterwards.

When we toasted the chiles, they puffed up and just had to show you what they looked like:

We’d suggest getting this going at the beginning of the day because we don’t know if it was something we did or the recipe got it wrong but it took more than the 6 hours listed for the meat to be tender enough that the bone slid right out ! It ended up taking so long that we didn’t get to actually try the dish until the next day. When we did try it though, oh my god it was so delicious ! You can’t pick any one specific flavor, you just know it’s delicious as fuck ! The meat can stand on its own for flavor but the toppings make it that much better.

We got this recipe from Cuisine at Home.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Cuisine at Home or coca-cola.

Take care everybody !

Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ lb. boneless pork shoulder, trimmed
  • 1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • ¾ tsp. black pepper, divided (we used freshly ground black pepper)
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice, divided
  • ¼ cup fresh orange juice, divided
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 dried ancho chile
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 white onion, sliced (we sliced ours about ¼ in. thick) (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 oregano sprigs
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
  • 6 Tbsp. chopped white onion
  • Cilantro sprigs (optional)
  • Lime wedges (optional)

Directions

  1. Cut the pork up into 3-inch pieces, placing them in a large ziplock bag afterwards. Sprinkle the brown sugar, ½ teaspoon pepper and ½ teaspoon salt over the pork.  Add 2 tablespoons each of the lime juice and orange juice to the bag and seal, removing as much air as possible*. Refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours.
  2. Add the hot water and dried ancho chile to a large bowl, letting it sit for 10 minutes. Take ¼ cup of the ancho soaking liquid and leave it off to the side for now along with the ancho chile. Take a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker out and add the pork to it, discarding the marinade that the pork was in. Add the garlic, sliced onion, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, oregano, ancho chile, that reserved ¼ cup soaking liquid, the remaining 2 tablespoons each of orange juice and lime juice. Put a lid on the slow cooker and let it cook on LOW for 7 to 8 hours or until the meat is very tender.
  3. Take the pork out of the slow cooker and place it in a container for the time being. Take a bowl out and place a fine wire-mesh strainer over it. Pour the cooking liquid from the slow cooker through the strainer, throwing away any solids. Measure out ½ cup of the cooking liquids, throwing away any leftover liquid afterwards. Take a large cast-iron skillet out and pour the canola oil in, setting the heat to medium-high. Once the oil’s hot, add in the pork, searing it for one minute without moving it**. Take the pork out of the skillet and place it back in the container. Pour the reserved ½ cup of cooking liquid into the skillet, scraping up any bits of pork stuck to the skillet, pouring it over the pork afterwards. Add the salt and pepper to the pork, shredding the pork afterwards. Divide the pork up afterwards among the tortillas, topping each one with 1 ½ teaspoons of chopped onions (we didn’t measure how much much we used). Serve with the cilantro and lime wedges if you’d like.

*After getting as much air out as possible, we rolled the ziplock bag up as tight as possible to help the pork absorb as much flavor as possible.

**We weren’t sure if they wanted you to sear one side only or all sides but we decided to sear for one minute on the first side and 30 seconds – 1 minute on the other sides.

The pork tasted great the first day we had this but the second day, the flavors were even stronger ! The char on the outside of the pork brings a smoky flavor to the taco and is a nice contrast against the tender parts of meat. The toppings bring a freshness to the dish and the onions offer a nice crunch as well.

Recipe source unknown.

Take care everybody !