Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pork Carnitas (GAPS-legal, grain-free, gluten-free)

Carnitas translates to mean "little meats".  These pork carnitas cook all day in the slow cooker.  This recipe is subtly spiced, and the flavor of the pork shines through.  These carnitas are wonderful when served in grain-free tortillas and garnished with sour cream, salsa, and avocado.

The latest issue of Wise Traditions had a very interesting article showing the results of live blood cell analysis on people who ate pork prepared in various ways. Based on this article, I chose to make the pork healthier by using a traditional method: marinating in lime juice. The results are tender and flavorful, but not overly tangy.

Pork Carnitas
Serves 6
  • 6 bone-in pork chops (or use a roast that has been cut into several pieces)
  • 4 medium limes, halved
  • Celtic sea salt
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 3-5 Tb leftover bacon grease, or more! (no brown bits)
  • Garnish: sour cream, avocado, and salsa
  • Optional: grain-free tortillas
  1. Place the pork into a large glass dish and season with salt. (I would not use anything other than clear glass since the lime juice will be very acidic; I would especially not use a metal dish.) Use a reamer to juice two limes over the top of the pork chops.  Flip the pork chops over and juice the remaining two limes over the top.  Use a spoon if necessary to ensure the lime juice is distributed evenly over the meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 
  2. In the morning, place the meat and any juices into a slow cooker (or use an oven-safe pot).  Sprinkle the sliced garlic and spices on top.  Add the bacon grease in a few plops (use more if your meat was very lean or less if your meat is fatty). Traditional carnitas are cooked in lots of lard, so don't be shy with the bacon grease!
  3. Cook on Low for 8-10 hours (or in the oven at 225 degrees).  
  4. 30-60 minutes before dinner, pull the meat out onto a cutting board.  Shred with a fork, and discard the bones.  Put the meat back into the pot, stir around a bit, and check the saltiness.  Add more salt as needed, 
  5. Turn the heat to Warm (or put back into the oven and just turn the oven off) for 30-60 minutes.  Do not skip this step, as it will allow the meat to become very tender and flavorful. 
  6. The carnitas can be served over a green salad, in lettuce wraps, or in grain-free tortillas.  Garnish with sour cream, avocado, and salsa. Enjoy!
This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Monday Mania, Fight Back Friday, Pennywise Platter and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways!

    5 comments:

    Pam said...

    We love eating carnitas. I think I like them even more than tacos now. :0)

    Anonymous said...

    I don't buy pork. Could this recipe be used with another meat? It sounds delicious!

    Sarah Smith said...

    Sure, you could try it with another meat. I'd try chicken, as it would work well with a meat that doesn't have a very strong flavor. If you want to try beef, increase the spices for sure!

    Kelsey said...

    Yum. I've never tried marinating my pork in lime juice - I'm going to try that next time! Funny, I was just craving some mexican pork last night. Guess I should make this soon!!

    Jill@ RealFoodForager.com said...

    Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!

    Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!
    http://realfoodforager.com/2011/12/fat-tuesday-december-6-2011/