Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork)

It was an early Cinco de Mayo celebration in our house. With teaching tonight and traveling on Thursday night (the real Cinco de Mayo), we pushed our celebrations up a few days. Trust me, I caught a lot of flack for the events from Mr. Prevention. I, on the other hand, need no excuse to make and enjoy Mexican food! As far as I’m concerned, I could (and would) eat Mexican on a daily basis.

It doesn’t happen often. I rarely repeat recipes. I’m all for trying new things…always. And besides, it keeps things rolling here on the blog. But sometimes, recipes are worthy of a repeat. Not to say that other recipes aren’t but this is certainly a favorite. And as the wheels started turning on menu options for Cinco de Mayo, this recipe kept coming to mind.

The original recipe calls for a pork shoulder roast, which is…fabulous. However the shoulder cuts tend to be heavily marbled with fat, making them the “perfect” choice for something like carnitas that are to be shredded. And while that’s all fine and good (oh so so good), I decided to try this recipe with a leaner cut and used a center cut boneless pork loin. The pork did need some additional cooking time, but the moist heat slow cooking yielded perfectly shredded pork carnitas and a much lower count of saturated fat grams and calories. When you’re cooking with flavors like chipotles in adobo and cumin, you really won’t miss the fat. I PROMISE!

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Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork) adapted from Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes

3.5 lb boneless center cut pork loin, lean, all fat removed
6 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
cumin, to taste
adobo, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
1 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
6 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, more or less to taste
2 bay leaves

Directions:

Season pork with salt and pepper. In a medium saute pan on medium-high heat, brown pork on all sides for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Using a sharp knife, insert blade into pork, cutting small holes and insert garlic slivers. Season pork generously with cumin, adobo and garlic powder all over.

Pour chicken broth in the crockpot, add bay leaves and chipotle peppers. Place pork in crock pot and cover. Cook low for 9-12 hours. After cooking, shred pork using two forks and combine well with the juices that accumulated at the bottom. Remove bay leaves. Let it cook another 15-30 minutes. Yield: 10 servings (5.5 ounces each).

Nutrition Information (per serving): 233 calories; 12.8 g. fat; 84 mg. cholesterol;  723 mg. sodium (less once juices removed); 1.3 g. carbohydrate; 0.3 g. fiber; 30.0 g. protein

Result: Spice this up with as many chipotle peppers as you’d like! The more, the spicier! I usually use one small can and they are delicious – however, we like it hot! Because this is a leaner cut than a pork shoulder or other common cut for carnitas, the longer cooking time is helpful. My meat did not easily shred after 8 hours, but after 10, it was ready to shred. Plan ahead and you will have succulent, fall-apart, spicy carnitas! I love to serve them on corn tortillas with pico de gallo and fresh avocado slices. Enjoy!

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Tomorrow will be another Mexican recipe for the REAL Cinco de Mayo 🙂

Question: Will you be celebrating Cinco de Mayo?

P.S. The Bloggers Bake for Hope bidding opened at midnight! Bid on a treat and help raise money for breast cancer awareness! My Big-O Brownies are open for bidding!

Be well,

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22 Comments

  1. May 4, 2011 / 7:43 am

    Mouth is watering…looks awesome!

  2. May 4, 2011 / 7:55 am

    I SWOON for pulled pork! So good!

  3. May 4, 2011 / 7:56 am

    As big of a mexican food lover as I am, you’d think I’d be ON IT with the Cinco de Mayo celebration… oops.

    My friend’s bday is on the holiday. He has an obligatory duty to drink tequila for his birthday every year… poor thing… πŸ˜‰

    • Nicole
      Author
      May 4, 2011 / 12:24 pm

      I heart tequila. I wish it was my birthday obligation to drink tequila every year πŸ˜‰

  4. May 4, 2011 / 9:05 am

    These look sooooo gooood, Nicole! We don’t eat pork but I bet chicken or beef would also be fantastic…thanks for the meal inspiration! Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday!

    • Nicole
      Author
      May 4, 2011 / 12:24 pm

      Absolutely! I’ve been wanting to try it with both!

  5. May 4, 2011 / 12:16 pm

    Holy yum. I love Mexican food. I wonder if I can convince my parents to pick a bunch up from the place up the street for the hockey game tomorrow. It only seems logical right? πŸ™‚

    • Nicole
      Author
      May 4, 2011 / 12:23 pm

      See, you’re a hockey fan with alterior motives!

  6. May 4, 2011 / 1:31 pm

    When I make pulled pork, I almost always use lean meat. And I think it’s pretty damn good! these carnitas look fab! I personally think it should be cinco de mayo week. Mexican food every day sounds good to me!

    • Nicole
      Author
      May 5, 2011 / 6:43 am

      AGREED! Cinco week!

  7. May 4, 2011 / 4:09 pm

    Ya know I woke up this morning thinking it was cinco De Mayo and got excited because we’re having fish tacos tonight. Well turns out I was wrong so we won’t really be celebrating with Mexican fare tomorrow. At least we’ll celebrate in spirit tonight!

    I love crockpot pulled pork. Looks delicious Nicole πŸ™‚

  8. May 4, 2011 / 5:27 pm

    I think that’s why we like each other so much – I can eat Mexican every day and never get sick of it – while I always use a pork shoulder to braise/crock pot, I’ll try your leaner version next time. πŸ˜€

    Have a safe drive to Oak Park!

    • Nicole
      Author
      May 5, 2011 / 6:42 am

      I love pork shoulder, but this was really lean and ended up very good, too! πŸ™‚

  9. Becca
    November 14, 2011 / 6:34 pm

    Just had to chime in and share how excellent we thought these were! I love coming home to a crockpot meal and having enough leftover to freeze. Thank you!

    • Nicole
      Author
      November 14, 2011 / 10:17 pm

      Becca, thank you! It’s so funny you posted on this recipe because I was just thinking about this recipe today and how I NEED to make them again!

  10. IZ
    May 18, 2019 / 9:31 pm

    So amazing! My strong willed Mexican mother asked for the recipe! Lol so you know it’s good!

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