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October 2005 Issue
Crockpot Carnitas
by Ronda L. Halpin
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When I go to a new Mexican restaurant, the first thing I look for and order from the menu is carnitas ... a blissfully tender dish usually featuring bits of pork that have been simmered for hours in a simple mixture of water or broth and ground cumin and then roasted, baked or broiled to bring back a bit of texture before serving. The dish is very simplistic, but an example of the finest in Mexican cuisine.

Of course, you don't have to rely on a Mexican restaurant to enjoy carnitas. I've found that anyone who has a crockpot or slow cooker and an operating broiler can easily make it at home and enjoy it in any number of ways. The tender meat makes a great filling for tacos, burritos or enchiladas and is also wonderful served on a plate with lots of condiments and a few fresh, hot tortillas.

Because it is not a spicy hot dish, carnitas can be enjoyed by a wide variety of people and you can opt to offer the heat in the form of condiments such as hot sauce, salsa or chopped peppers. Kids enjoy it because they can layer condiments on until eating it ends up being a fun challenge! However you present it at the table, enjoy this simple, delicious dish from Mexico!


Crockpot Carnitas

  • 2 lbs. boneless county style pork ribs
  • 1 T. ground cumin -- divided
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. water
  • Cooking spray
Place the ribs in a slow cooker and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of ground cumin and the salt. Carefully add the water to the slow cooker, cover the cooker and simmer the ribs on LOW for 6-8 hours or until the meat pulls apart easily.

Using two forks, pull the pork ribs into coarse chunks and place in a single layer on a baking sheet coated in cooking spray. Sprinkle the meat evenly with the remaining 1 teaspoon of ground cumin and spray the top of the meat lightly with cooking spray. Broil the meat 5 inches from the broiler element until the edges of the meat brown and start to bubble slightly. Remove the meat from the broiler and serve with flour tortillas and condiments like tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, salsa, avocados and cheese or use as a filling for tacos, burritos, etc.

  • Yields: 6-8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes plus simmering time

As always, I encourage you to share your recipe ideas and comments. You can always post comments in the discussion board using the forms provided in the articles or email me directly at .

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