Smoky Pork Carnitas

Crockpot meals are handy any time of year, but the trick in the summer is to choose a meal that fits with the season.  Soups and stews are just not appealing when the weather is hot. Pulled pork fits the bill perfectly.  It's a versatile meal that can be served lots of different ways.  It can be served with sauerkraut, with pickles/onions and chipotle mayo, or in a tortilla with some yummy toppings like shredded cabbage, cilantro, and avocado.

One of the benefits of this recipe is the use of an inexpensive cut of meat.  Even at Whole Foods, you can get a large pork shoulder roast (I choose bone-in for more flavor) for less than $15.:

The shoulder roast has a nice amount of fat which adds to the moistness and flavor of the dish. I simply combine the spices in a small bowl and then coat the entire roast with them.

I place the meat is in a crockpot and then add a cup of water to the bottom, being sure to not wash the spices off the meat.

Now it's time to let the crockpot do the work.  Put the lid on and let it cook for 6-8 hours on low - the longer the better.  When it's done, it should shred easily and have a nice brown color on the outside.  

Take the meat out of the crockpot, place it on a large plate, and use 2 forks to shred it.  This can be served by itself, with some sauerkraut,  on a sandwich with barbecue sauce, or even on a tortilla with  your favorite toppings.  What is your favorite way to serve pulled pork?


Smoky Pork Carnitas
(serves 6-8)

  • 3-5 lbs. bone-in pork shoulder
  • 2 t smoked paprika
  • 2 t black pepper
  • 1 t dried thyme
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 c water
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine all of the seasonings in a small bowl.
  2. Coat the entire roast with the seasonings.
  3. Place seasoned roast in a 6-quart crockpot, add water, making sure you don't wash off any spices!
  4. Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours (or HIGH for 4-5 hours) or until pork is very tender.
  5. Place pork on a large cutting board or plate and let rest for 10-15 minutes. Shred using 2 forks.
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