This week I read that a fast food chain restaurant was unable to serve Pork Carnitas on their menu due to an issue with a pork supplier in their chain. I’ll spare ya the details, because you can find them everywhere on the internet. I want to tell you, there is NO shortage of responsibly raised pork in the good ‘ol U.S.A. I always tell you, if you have genuine questions about modern pig farming, or even the heritage breeds in our outdoor operation, you can ask me.
At the end of the day, the pork that you can buy in the grocery store comes from the pigs we raise in our barns, and that same pork is on our dinner table at least ten meals a week. If we didn’t care for our animals, we wouldn’t be able to make a living. We believe in ‘responsibly raising’ our hogs, because we want to be able to provide a legacy to our children. This legacy includes not only leaving our children a place to raise hogs in the future, but teaching them the skills to do so, through experience on the farm.
There are many ways to raise hogs and I am a fan of them all because no matter how you slice it folks, it is hard work. I have delightful friends who have pastured operations and lovely friends who have gorgeous modern barns. If you can, visit a farm to take a closer look and see for yourself. There are a growing number of farmers waiting to share their story with you about what happens on their farm every day. They want to show you why raising pigs the way they do is the most beneficial to them in their geography, their farm, their family, and in their marketplace.
I’ll encourage you to not put your faith into a corporate marketing plan to sell food but to seek out farmers like my husband and myself for information to make your choices. We’ll always be happy to help you understand anything you have questions about or connect you with another farmer that can help. If you want more information about modern pig farming see my posts: Our Modern Pig Barns and We Are Pig Farmers.
All this talk of carnitas got me thinking… I’ve never even eaten them! So, instead of dining out try the BEST pork butt recipe of all time at home! Fully adaptable to the slow-cooker, this recipe won’t disappoint! Follow the 6 S’s: Season, sear, spice, slow cook, shred, SERVE! This recipe takes the top spot in pork creations for me, try it and you’ll know why.
Here’s that succulent meat, pre-shredding, right from the slow cooker. I couldn’t help it. Few things get devoured before I get the chance to photograph them… this recipe and my Pigged Out Patty Melt narrowly escaped that fate!
Best Pork Carnitas with Chunky Pico De Gallo
By: Cristen www.foodandswine.com
Makes approx. 6-8 servings
3 lb. pork shoulder (aka: pork butt, boston butt) roast, sliced into 3” cubes/chunks *go for 3.5 lbs. if roast is bone-in
2 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt or other seasoned salt of choice
2 TBSP vegetable oil or light olive oil
2 tsp chili powder
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp garlic salt (sub garlic powder to reduce sodium)
½ tsp black pepper
1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
2 large oranges, zested and juiced (need ½ of zest, all of juice)
2 limes (need ½ of zest, all of juice)
1 head of garlic cloves, peeled and smashed slightly
1/4 C chopped cilantro for garnish
Directions: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add oil and wait until oil is shimmering. Season pork with Lawry’s. Add pork to hot oil in skillet. Sear on each side 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove skillet from heat. Add chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic salt, salt and black pepper to a bowl. Stir to combine. Toss over seared meat and stir well. Let stand a couple minutes while you prep slow cooker. To a slow cooker (crock pot) bowl, add onion quarters, half of orange zest, all of orange juice, half of lime zest, all of lime juice and garlic cloves. Add meat to slow cooker, scraping all fat and juices from the skillet. Stir well. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours. (All units cook differently.) Meat should be tender and falling apart. Strain meat from juices, discard garlic and onion. Shred meat and remove any excess liquid fat from juices. Return meat to juices. Fold gently to incorporate. Preheat oven broiler to medium high or high. Spread meat on a lightly greased baking sheet. Broil until edges of shredded carnitas are caramelized. (A couple of minutes or less depending on the heat level of your oven’s broiler unit and the distance from the baking sheet to the unit.) Serve immediately with Chunky Pico De Gallo in bibb lettuce cups or radicchio leaves or on flour or corn tortillas. Makes approx 6-8 servings.
*The searing step in the first part of the recipe can be skipped, if it must. Season meat with spices and add to crockpot with other ingredients in order given. *The broiling step can be skipped too, but this will give extra texture and flavor to the meat, that is out of this world.
Chunky Pico De Gallo
1 container cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 C cilantro leaves, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1/2 small red onion, chopped finely Juice of 1 small lime
Salt and pepper to taste Mix together and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with Carnitas.
Is it summer yet?