Thank you for a great Carmel Winter Farmers Market season! We will see you beginning on May 4th at the Carmel Farmers Market and the Fishers Farmers Market!

Crave-worthy Carnitas

Growing up, the only pork that I ate was bacon and pepperoni.  Since living on the farm and raising our own pigs, I have expanded my pork palate to now include pretty much everything, with our hot and spicy sausage, pork tenderloin, and shoulder roasts among my top choices.  One of my favorite meals to make with a shoulder roast is carnitas.  For years, I had been enjoying a version packed with flavor from cumin, garlic, green chiles, and chipotle peppers.  Recently, I made a completely different version for my Cookbook Club and I am hooked; below is my adapted recipe.  If you give it a try, let me know what you think. 

Also, I prepare this in my 8-qt Instant Pot; if you do not have an IP, a crock pot will work just fine, but the cooking time will need to be adjusted. 

  • 1 pork shoulder roast (Boston Butt or Picnic), around 3-4 lbs, thawed
  • 1 3/4 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ~2 TBSP oil (I use canola)
  • 1 12-oz bottle of Mexican cola*
  • 5-6 cloves of minced garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 c water
*Mexican cola is cola sweetened with cane sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup.  If shopping at Kroger, it is located in the grab-and-go refrigerated beverage section. 

  1. Make a rub of the dry spices/seasonings listed above (salt, cinnamon, allspice, chile powder, and cumin).  Rub this all over the thawed pork shoulder then cut the roast into three or four chunks for easier handling.  If using an Instant Pot, add the ~2 TBSP of oil to the stainless steel insert and use the 'Saute' function for 8 minutes to brown each side of the pork shoulder chunks (work in two batches so pork is in a single layer).  If not using an IP, brown the chunks in a heavy (cast iron) skillet, then transfer to your crock pot. 
  2. After all of the chunks have been browned, add 1 c of water to deglaze (or gently scrape all of the yummy bits from the bottom of the pan).  Add in the cola, minced garlic, and bay leaves. 
  3. If using an IP, put the lid on, turn the valve to 'sealing' and cook on the 'Soup/Broth' setting for 2 hours.  For a crock pot, I would think around 5 hours on 'high' would be sufficient.  The meat should be completely tender; add extra time as needed. 
  4. Once done, use tongs to pull the meat out of the pot and allow it to cool for around 15-20 minutes so that the meat can be comfortably handled to remove any excess fat/trim. Strain and reserve some of the cooking stock from the pot, which will keep the meat moist and flavorful during any re-heating. 
  5. Serve with your choice of sides, such as black beans or rice and garnish with your choice of toppings on a corn or flour tortilla such as: queso fresco, cilantro, lime wedges, avocado, thinly sliced radish, black olives, etc.  Enjoy!

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