Crockpot Carnitas & Paleo Nachos
What you've got here on this page is the most popular recipe on Worthy Pause. It really is that delicious.
I consider myself fairly well-versed in good food. Like, really good food. However, like any red-blooded American, I do enjoy trip to Chipotle now and again. It just can't be helped. This recipe is so easy and tastes like an exact replica of the Chipotle carnitas recipe (if that matters to you). Regardless, it's just good stuff. Obviously, you're going to need a small fortune's worth of guacamole to go with this. It costs extra, even when you make it yourself.
For less of a Chipotle burrito vibe and more of an authentic, Central Mexico street cart vibe, you only have to make a few tweaks to this recipe. Substitute oregano for the thyme, add a cinnamon stick, maybe some allspice, a quartered onion and a squeeze of fresh orange juice into to the slow cooker and you'll be pretty close to the real deal. At some point, I'll photograph them that way I'll post a full recipe and we can chat all about traditional carnitas. Because they are amazing, too.
Also, if you're coming from Buzzfeed or another recipe roundup (thanks for the features, friends!), they may have an outdated picture on there that I took with my iPhone in 2013 and was literally just peppers filled with pork and sprinkled with parsley (WTF, ANNIE? PARSLEY?!). Anyway, just wanted to make sure you know you're in the right place... now with slightly better photos.
Chipotle-Inspired Crockpot Carnitas
Paleo & Whole30-approved; Inspired by Chipotle
- 3.5 lb pork shoulder
- sea salt and pepper (lots of salt and pepper, don't be shy!)
- olive oil
- 1.5 T fresh thyme leaves
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 cup chicken broth or stock
- Rub the pork shoulder with salt and pepper, coating generously. Heat olive oil in skillet on high and brown the meat on all sides to seal in the juices (about 3-4 min per side).
- Add the broth, bay leaves, thyme and pork to the slow cooker. The broth is not meant to cover the meat because you want to maintain a crispy exterior just like real carnitas that you eat in Mexico.
- Cook on low for 8-12 hours. (The meat in the photos was cooked for about 11 hours and then kept it on warm even longer before dinner.)
- Shred and then eat it in fistfuls until it's gone.
- When reheating, make sure to fry the meat on the stovetop to crisp it up. Trust.
- This slow cooker carnitas recipe is a great pulled pork recipe in general, so just change up the seasoning to your liking and you're set for endless alternatives.
- Serve on cilantro-cauliflower rice with salsas, lettuce, etc. You could also use it in place of the chicken in my Paleo Hatch Green Chilaquiles recipe. To make nachos, keep reading.
- The carnitas keep well and freeze well in a freezer bag. Just make sure you spoon in some of the juice before you put it into the freezer.
Paleo Roasted Pepper Nachos
Paleo, Gluten-free, Whole30
- small sweet peppers, halved
- filling of choice (carnitas, in this case)
- other toppings of choice (chopped avocado, cilantro, red onion, jalapeños and salsa verde, etc.)
- Fill the peppers with meat.
- Broil on high for about 5-6 minutes until the edges are just slightly browning and the carnitas are crisp on top. You don't want to cook them too long or they will be too soft and difficult to eat with your hands.
- Top with your favorite toppings and eat.
P.P.S. I love Mexican breakfasts like chorizo-sweet potato hash. You could make a tasty breakfast hash with these carnitas.
This updated recipe was originally published in November of 2013.