This slow cooked pork makes the perfect burrito bowl topping or a delicious taco filling. The sweet and tangy sauce keeps the pork moist and flavourful, while crisping it up under the broiler gives it great texture, the result of which is nothing short of delicious!
Avoiding the conventional meat industry, also know as CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), is something we have been working towards over the last few years. It did not happen overnight, but rather has been a process of researching, learning and finding alternative sources. There are several reasons why we have chosen to avoid the CAFO meat, from animal cruelty and environmental issues to the overuse of antibiotics and wanting to support our local economy. Needless to say, sourcing meat and eggs from pasture raised, antibiotic and hormone free animals that were fed certified organic feed has become a priority in the way we eat.
We are extremely fortunate to have access to a wide range of producers at our local farmers markets. One of which is our good friends from Green Fire Farms, who raise pigs that they have incorporated into their crop rotation. This means happy pasture raised pigs that also put nutrients back into the soils (decreasing reliance on off farm inputs). I believe that in order to have sustainable food systems, animals must be a part of the ecosystem. For us it was a no brainer to buy into their pig share, supporting a local farmer while also getting the highest quality pork we’ve ever had. It has been a humbling and rewarding experience, from which I have gained new skills, learning to cook with all parts of the animal, and as always gained a greater appreciation for what it takes to put meat on the table.
As the food movement continues to grow towards transparency and sustainability, it is becoming easier to source high quality meat. I find it easiest to source products directly from farms at my local farmers market. It allows me to ask questions, about how the animals were raised, what they were fed, how they are slaughtered, and sometimes we are even able to visit the farms to see the animals out in the fields and witness the amazing work that these local producers are doing first hand. I encourage you to look for locally sourced, pasture raised meats and eggs, if only for the superior flavour!
Anyhow, back to the recipe… one of my favourite ways to use this slow cooked pork is as a topping for burrito bowls. I love to throw it on top of rice with sliced avocado, roasted yams, loads of cilantro and top it off with some tomatillo salsa!
Slow Braised Pork Carnitas
yields: 6-8 servings (for burrito bowls)
- 4-5 lbs. boneless pork butt (shoulder roast), cut into 3-4″ chunks
- 2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice (about 4-6 large oranges)
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3-4 limes)
- 3 jalapeños (stems removed)
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 Tbsp. coriander seeds
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
Preheat oven to 325°F.
In a blender combine orange juice, lime juice, jalapeños, garlic, coriander seeds, cumin, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
In a dutch oven combine pork with sauce. Cover and bake for 4 hours.
Preheat broiler on high, meanwhile remove pork from sauce and place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Shred the pork with two forks and toss with 1 cup of cooking liquid, then spread out evenly.
Broil for 5 minutes, until the pork starts to brown and char on the edges. Toss with another cup of sauce and broil again for another 5 minutes. Combine with remaining sauce and season with salt to taste.