Slow Cooker Lechon Asado (Pork Carnitas)

One of my favorite meals is Lechon Asado, which my neighbor also calls carnitas or shredded pork. It’s a tangy, savory, melt in your mouth bit of wonderful which can be used in so many different ways. If you’re like me, you smother it in caramelized onions and eat it straight with a side of rice and beans. They’re also wonderful as the filling for soft tacos (there’s plenty of corn based soft tacos on the market) or stuffed into gluten-free pocket bread like samosa, kuttu or pita (keep an eye out for these recipes. I’ve also thrown leftover shredded pork in Hoppin’ John or bean soup. This recipe will give you 4 standard portions or two add-in recipes worth of meat.

Lechon Asado
ingredients
2 1/2 – 3 lb bone in pork shoulder roast
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, rough diced
1 whole navel orange, halved (wash well)
2 limes, halved
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 jalapeno, ribbed, seeded and minced (optional)
salt & pepper

directions
Trim the roast of excess fat, then rinse and pat it dry. Perforate the roast several times with a sharp knife to create channels for the rub to seep into. Salt and pepper the roast quite liberally (this will help it create a ‘bark’ that will hold the most flavor when later fried). Combine 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, oregano, garlic, and cumin and rub onto the meat, taking care to get into any flaps or crevices where the flavor can creep up into the roast.

Place the roast into your slow cooker with the fattiest side facing up. Add the onions and jalapenos if using. Squeeze the oranges over top the lot of it, then toss in the two rinds for good measure. Trust me, it makes for amazing flavor. Cover. You’re going to cook this on low for anywhere from 9 to 11 hours or on high for around 5 hours. End result? You want the be able to wriggle the bone out of the meat with little to no effort. If using a meat thermometer, the reading should be about 195F.

Remove from the slow cooker and allow to cool slightly. When you are able to comfortably handle the meat, shred with a fork, then immediately wrap in foil until you’re ready to use it (for full flavor, let it sit overnight in the fridge to finish marrying the flavors).

Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add three tablespoons of olive oil. Add the pork to the skillet and allow to fry until just a little crusty. Squeeze a little lime atop the meat just before serving.

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