Our Paleo Family

Instant Pot or Crock Pot Pork Carnitas (Paleo with AIP variation)

**September 2017 Update: I have added instructions for preparing this dish in the Instant Pot. Scroll to the notes section below the recipe for these updates.**

It’s been clean up season in this house and something I realized I have way too many of are cooking magazines. I love to read them, even if most of the recipes aren’t suitable for our current lifestyle. There’s no problem with this, of course, but I never seem to throw them away. I turn down the corners and think I will go back and try those recipes some day. I found Southern Living magazines from 2007. My 11 and 9 year old kiddos were a mere 3 and 1. That seems an entire lifetime ago.

I donated a bunch of the more recent ones to the Y where other ladies like me will take them and turn down the corners. A massive stack went straight to the recycle bin. I simply could not bring myself to look through all of them. But others, I sat with and reviewed all those turned down corners. None of the recipes I had my eye on were paleo, but a lot of them still looked appetizing to me and sparked some ideas for transforming them into meals that would work for us now.

These carnitas are one such recipe. This whole thing was really an afterthought. I realized I didn’t have a plan for lunch after church and wanted to try putting something in the crock pot rather than going out. Eating out has definitely lost a lot of it’s allure since transitioning to this grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free diet.

The real kicker here is that I sent my husband to Whole Foods to fetch the meat. We’re trying to stick to a really tight budget and I had already shopped three grocery stores this week and I forgot to pick up a pork loin. Probably forgot because it wasn’t really planned. As I started talking, mostly to myself, about planning this meal for Sunday, my dear husband offered to go get the meat. When I shop for meat at Whole Foods I usually go with an open mind because they don’t always have the same cuts. So it was, with great trepidation, that I said, “Um, yeah, sure, thanks.” He had instructions to bring back country style ribs, sort of the short rib of the pig. Second choice was a pork loin, third choice was bone in pork chops. He brought home pork stew meat. I’d never seen that in the case before, but I was thrilled. This sounded like exactly what I wanted. Pork can get very dry if overcooked and I wanted something I could slow cook. Stew meat is usually scraps of the other cuts and tends to be tough.

I browned the meat before placing it in the crock pot and it simmered away while we were at church and then out for a hike. We all walked in the door starving and a delicious meal was ready. I had leftover AIP tortillas from a meal earlier in the week and I had made more tropical salsa slaw before we left for church. I took a few minutes to fry up a batch of plantains and lunch was ready.

This was so good, I cannot even tell you. I can tell you this though: I don’t think I’m a boastful person. I do not like to be in the spotlight and I do not go around bragging about myself. I don’t know who this person is who writes on the internet and is always saying how great her food is. But you should listen to her. This was easy and delicious. Even my daughter gobbled it up and she isn’t much for meat. And she really hates the AIP tortillas. She loved them with this pork.

I chose to eat my pork and slaw with plantain chips, nacho style. Are the plantain chips more Whole 30 approved than the AIP tortillas? I’m not sure, but in my mind, they were a better choice. You could eat this over a bed of greens, a bowl of rice, some zucchini noodles or do as we did and make tacos and nachos. You really can’t go wrong.

Carnitas

My husband’s plate with some diced bell pepper for added flavor. He’s eating leftover flour tortillas from a Mexican restaurant. Those aren’t my AIP tortillas.

 

IMG_4157

Plantain Chip + Carnitas + Tropical salsa slaw = YUM

Something I learned from another blog was to use my hand mixer to shred the meat. It certainly isn’t difficult to do this with two forks, but the mixer trick was super fast and easy. Just put the regular mixer blades in your hand mixer and turn on low. It took about 30 seconds before I had perfectly shredded meat.

If you like spice, by all means, add some cayenne pepper or even some jalepenos. We don’t like heat, just flavor and that’s just what this recipe has in spades.

Crock Pot Pork Carnitas
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4-6 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
4-6 hours
Servings Prep Time
4-6 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
4-6 hours
Crock Pot Pork Carnitas
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4-6 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
4-6 hours
Servings Prep Time
4-6 servings 20 minutes
Cook Time
4-6 hours
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Heat large heavy skillet (not non-stick) over medium high heat and add bacon fat. Swirl to coat.
  2. Lay out meat on a piece of parchment or the butcher paper it came in and sprinkle spices all over. You can combine the spices in a separate bowl and then sprinkle them on, but I just sprinkled them right there on the paper, one at a time. Then toss the meat around to make sure all sides are coated and rub the spices in well.
  3. Add meat to hot oil and brown on each side. You may have to do this in batches. As each piece is browned, set aside.
  4. When all meat has been browned, add 1/2 cup chicken broth to skillet and deglaze the pan (scrape up all the brown bits). Add this to the crock pot along with the remaining 1/2 cup of broth and your meat.
  5. Here's where you have to know your crock pot. Mine is a monster and cooks very fast. I started it on high for one hour then reduced to low for about 2 1/2 hours, then to warm until we were ready to eat. I would guess your average crock pot would cook this meal in 4-6 hours on low.
  6. If you don't have a crock pot, you could prepare this in a dutch oven and bake at 225 degrees for the same amount of time.
  7. Shred meat right in the crock pot and keep warm until ready to serve.
Recipe Notes

Serve with tortillas, plantain chips or over rice, salad or zucchini noodles.

To prepare this dish in the instant pot, follow directions above except you will heat your oil in the IP pan over "normal saute." Brown on all sides, then add water or broth to the instant pot. Seal the lid, set to "manual, high pressure" for 55 minutes.

It will take about 12 minutes to come up to pressure, 55 minutes to cook and an additional 15 minutes for the pressure to come down naturally. Alternatively, you could do a quick release. The meat will be done at this point so it's up to you whether you wait for the pressure to release naturally or hurry along the process.

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