After a day of hard fence building work in the yard (my vegetable garden will be expanded to twice its current size – yeah!) – Mike would do the hard work and I just hand the tools and dig out the dirt out of the post holes – some hearty Pork Carnitas that pretty much cook themselves, sounded really good. I also wanted some “crunch” with my tacos but since I don’t like regular cole slaw I decided to go with a quick pickled cabbage version which turned out great. If you like Kimchi and/or pickled veggies you will like this version of pickled cabbage, just the right balance of spicy and sour which adds a little bit of “oomph” to the Carnitas. The recipe called for a minimum of 30 minutes of pickling which works out fine but if you have the time to pickle the cabbage overnight go with the overnight version which I think makes the cabbage right out delicious to eat on its own.
Also don’t skip the step of frying the pork and then adding back the slow cooker juices to the pork, it makes all the difference. The frying gives the meat a nice golden crunch and the juices from the slow cooker add a LOT of flavor and juiceness.
Slow Cooker Carnitas:
- 4-5 pound pork shoulder
- 1 onion, cut into thick slices
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and ribs removed, chopped
- Salt, Pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- Juice from two oranges
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp chili pepper
- 1 tsp onion salt
- Garnish: Avocado, pickled cabbage, lime, hot sauce, Cilantro
- Mexican Rice
- Rinse and dry the pork shoulder, rub in salt and pepper
- Combine the rub ingredients then rub all over the pork, you might have some rub left over, store it for the next time!
- Place the pork in a slow cooker (fat cap up), top with the onion, jalapeño, minced garlic, chicken broth and orange juice.
- Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 6 hours.
- Remove the meat from the slow cooker and let cool slightly. Then shred the pork using two forks.
- Remove the onion, skim off the fat from the juices remaining in the slow cooker and discard the fat.
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large non stick pan over high heat. Place shredded pork into the pan and press down and cook until the bottom side is golden brown and crusty. I recommend only making one side crusty and leaving the other side juicy and moist.
- Pour over the juices and serve immediately
Quick pickled Cabbage:
- 3 cups chopped red cabbage (cut into small strips)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons chile paste
- Place cabbage in a medium bowl with garlic and 1/2 tsp salt, massage in the salt and garlic. Bring vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and chile paste to a boil. Pour hot vinegar mixture over cabbage; toss. Let stand at least 30 minutes. For best results fill cabbage into a container with lid and submerge the cabbage with the pickling liquid and pickle overnight.
For serving your tacos: warm up your tortillas (30 seconds in a wet paper towel in the microwave), top with meat, slow cooker juice, some hot sauce, avocado and pickled cabbage (I don’t like Cilantro and skip that part but for the Cilantro lover also top with Cilantro). Serve with a side of Mexican rice.