What are Carnitas?
In short, pork cooked all day in lard and citrus.
I have made carnitas several times and always cooked the pork all day in lard and citrus.
It’s delicious, no way around that. Anything cooked in fat is delicious, that’s the law. Lard has been deemed the worst form of fat for years, but I did not want to sacrifice eating carnitas.
Slow Cooker Carnitas
I decided there had to be a healthier or even “lighter” version of this meal. I have made pork roasts time and time again and knew how to develop great flavors through slow cooking or braising. I felt replacing the lard for a full flavored broth might be my solution.
Turns out, it was. Adding orange juice along with the orange peel fully enhanced the braising liquid.
Part of what makes carnitas, carnitas is some of the meat being crispy. To get this flavor, I added a tiny bit of olive oil in a frying pan, approximately 1 tablespoon and quickly pan fried the shredded roast.
The thinner pieces and ends of others crisped up while the larger chunks of meat maintained their moist tender consistency.
How to eat Carnitas
I served these Lighter Carnitas up in corn tortillas, squeezed fresh lime over it, added some cilantro and onions…and went to town. These were every bit as good (if not better) than traditional lard-cooked carnitas.
Update 1/8/15: Since this was one of my first posts, but one of my most delicious posts I needed to take new pictures. Turns out my photography skills haven’t improved all that much in a year. I wanted to plate it in a similar manner as the original pictures, but that was probably foolish. In the end, these pictures are better than the first because they are at least in focus! I will endeavor to get better with my photography. It just might be time to take a class.
What to Serve with Carnitas?
There are so many wonderful Mexican side dishes that will complement these Lighter Carnitas.
Mexican and Latin Rice Recipes
Mexican Bean Recipes
Mexican Corn Recipes
Easy Salsa Recipes
- 2 tbsp chicken bouillon
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 cloves of garlic; grated/minced
- 1/2 medium onion; chunked
- 1-2 orange rinds; cleaned
- Salt-to taste
- 2-3 pound pork roast
- Olive oil
In your slow cooker add all ingredients except salt, roast, and olive oil. Mix well.
Taste the broth for salt content.
Add salt to your liking. I added about 1/4 teaspoon more. The chicken bouillon is fairly salty on its own so add salt to you personal tastes.
Add roast. Cook on low at least 6 hours.
When ready to serve, pull the roast out and let sit on cutting board for about 20 minutes.
Shred the roast into desired size.
Meanwhile, heat a frying pan with a bit of olive oil.
Once hot, add shredded pork and quickly "fry" up.
Serve as desired…in corn tortillas with lime, onion, and cilantro perhaps.
Here are the original photographs: