Happy Football Sunday, everyone! In the Powell house, this is a very important day–especially because the Atlanta Falcons are playing. A.J. is originally from Atlanta, and he eats, breathes and bleeds the Falcons. With football, the cooler temps and shorter days, A.J. and I really ramp up our home cooking. A.J. is an AMAZING chef; he’s been in the culinary and hospitality industry as a restaurant professional for over a decade. As with all things bargainbosss related, we always cook up a great bargain. Today, we are sharing a simple and tasty carnitas recipe–literally, any beginner cook could make this dish. This protein can feed anywhere from two to six people, and it only has a $15.37 price tag!
The ingredients we will be using include:
- 2 pounds of pork shoulder (we bought this at $3.99 a pound; most grocers have discounted prices for the proteins they need to get rid of, so if you’re eating the day you buy it, I would recommend this option!)
- 16 ounces of Mexican Coke; we used Mexican Coke because there’s no high fructose corn syrup ($1.50)
- 1.5 tablespoons of cumin (this should be in your cabinet!)
- teaspoon of chili powder (this should be hanging out near the cumin!)
- minced garlic; dependent upon your liking; we used two cloves worth ($3 for an 8 oz jar of minced garlic)
- 1/2 cup of stock; we used and prefer chicken stock, but you can use anoher type for this dish ($2 for a 2 pound box)
- 1 white onion ($.39)
- salt and pepper; rubbed; amount to your liking
- 1 lime; juiced; ($.50)
- a fair amount of oil; we used bacon fat that we had
*Prices can vary depending on what grocer you go to, the market in which you live and other variables
First, A.J. rubbed salt and pepper on the pork shoulder. He then put it into a *seasoned* cast-iron skillet with a fair amount of bacon fat. He started searing the meat on medium to high heat, turning the pork around as it browned; this should take no more than 5 minutes.
For the beginner cook: just rub salt and pepper on the pork shoulder and skip to the next paragraph.
While the meat was searing, he started prepping the other items; we minced the garlic and chopped the onion. We grabbed the Crock Pot, turned it on low, and added the Mexican Coke, garlic, onion, lime juice, cumin, chili powder and stock.
Once the meat had been well-seared, we set it in the Crock Pot and let it do it’s thing for the next 7 hours (6-8 hours of cook time on low is a good rule of thumb for the texture you want in your carnitas).
Once your timer goes off, give your carnitas a little taste and determine if any additional seasoning is necessary. Then, the carnitas should be ready to be devoured! The beauty about this dish is you can have it with so many different things; you can add it to tacos, sandwiches, nachos, eggs, etc. We had it with some Mexican rice, beans and a sauce all made from scratch, and of course, topped it with a little cilantro for flavor and color.
Since it’s just the two of us (sorry Mollie, you don’t get any!), we ate it for dinner last night and of course, we have leftovers. This morning, we are eating the carnitas over eggs–who doesn’t love a Mexican brunch?! This afternoon, we intend on making an open-faced torta, but maybe we’ll put it on top of some tortilla chips and munch on some nachos during the Falcons game–we still haven’t decided.
This lasted us for three separate meals, all for under $20!
It should be noted that carnitas are just pulled pork, so this recipe can still be applied for a pulled pork rendition, just exclude all of the Mexican ingredients.
*Seasoned skillet: a skillet that’s been broken in and used many times before