Poblano & Hard Cider Carnitas
*Sidenote: Did you know that my personal chef company now offers meal & menu planning services?! Whether you need help planning a special anniversary menu or want a meal plan CUSTOM tailored to your specific nutrition needs and preferences – we can help! Check it out!*
These may be the best carnitas I’ve ever made.
That’s a pretty bold statement coming from someone who makes some variation of pulled pork or carnitas nearly every week since it’s cheap and you can get A LOT of food. Plus, it’s pork…which means it’s delicious. I made about 3lbs or so of meat last night and I will be shocked it makes it until tomorrow -it took serious self control not eat half of the pan in one sitting.
The best part was that the entire recipe is pretty hands-off – there is some hands-on time for searing the meat, shredding it, and moving it to a pan but that’s about it. If you want to the process to be entirely hands-off, you could make it an slow cooker using a similar method to this pulled pork recipe, it just won’t be very crispy. I don’t know if it’s the changing weather (COME ONE FALL HURRRRRRY UP!) or what, but these carnitas just felt perfectly appropriate for dinner last night. They’re a little cinnamon-y, savory, and a touch sweet from the hard cider which means they have a touch of fall, a touch of summer, and all the deliciousness you can stand.
Poblano & Hard Cider Carnitas
||3 hours, 30 minutes|
||3 hours, 50 minutes|
- 4lb pork shoulder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon bacon fat or grass fed butter
- 1 cinnamon stick (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
- 2 small poblano peppers, seeds removed, cut into strips
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 bottle gluten-free hard apple cider (my favorite is a local brand, Bold Rock - go for something not super sweet)
- water, if needed
Inspired by: Mark's Daily Apple
A few notes on ingredients...
For spices: you can also use a good "adobo" spice mix in place of all the spices (except salt, of course!).
For cider you can use apple juice (about 1- 1/2 cups) or so in place of the hard cider.
||Preheat oven to 350F. Take pork shoulder and trim off any hard, inedible fat (most reputable butchers should do this but sometimes there may be some leftover, just check it over). If your shoulder has a large fat cap, score the fat in a diagonal "x" pattern. |
||Combine all dried spices, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl. Rub generously over all sides of the pork shoulder. |
||Heat up a large, deep pot (like a dutch oven) over medium-high to high heat on the stove. Once pot is hot, add 1 tablespoon of fat (I recommend bacon fat!) - you may need more if your shoulder doesn't have a large fat cap. Place shoulder in pot and sear on all sides until very golden brown and fat cap has begun to render slightly. |
||Add onions, poblanos, garlic, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf to pot. Next, pour in hard cider. You want enough liquid to reach just short of covering the meat so add some water if necessary. |
||Cover pot with foil (or oven safe lid if your pot has it) and cook for about 2 1/2 hours until meat is almost done. Remove lid (or foil) and cinnamon stick and bay leaf and cook for another 30-45 minutes, uncovered, until meat easily falls apart. |
||Remove pot from oven and place pork shoulder and all vegetables on a large baking sheet. Shred pork using a fork or tongs and spread evenly. Add a ladle full of liquid to the baking sheet. |
||Turn oven up to 400F and continue to cook pork until it is as crispy and brown as you like it - I recommend rotating the baking sheet and stirring it up a few times. |
||While the pork is finishing, heat remaining braising liquid (just keep it in the same pot) over medium-high heat to reduce it a bit. Once pork is crispy, remove from oven and serve with a bit of braising liquid on top. |
Tagged: braise, carnitas, gluten-free, hard cider, oven, poblano, pork, pulled pork, slow cooker