Maple Carnitas in a Slow Cooker Recipe
Serve this delicious slightly sweet, slightly spicy Maple pulled pork in tacos, burritos, over salad bowls, nachos, or on a bun as a sandwich. Carnitas with a New England twist! Enjoy.
Servings: makes about 10 cups
- 4-5 pound pork shoulder butt or roast
- ½ cup Ben's 100% Pure Maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon Maple Granulated Sugar
- 3 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon cayenne/chili pepper (I like the balance of heat and sweet from maple syrup)
- 1 tablespoon chipotle powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- ½ tablespoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion peeled and cut into quarters
- 5 cloves of garlic peeled and rough chopped
- 1 orange
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1 can of beer - a lager is a good choice
- Trim any thick layers of fat off pork, but not all
- Combine the olive oil, cumin, cayenne, chipotle, salt, pepper, and maple sugar in a small bowl.
- Pat the pork dry with paper towels and then rub completely with the spice mixture. Let sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes.
- Heat a large skillet and brown/crisp all sides of the pork. This works best by letting the pork sit in the hot skillet for about 3 minutes on each side. Turn off heat.
- Set the browned pork shoulder in the crockpot.
- Pour half of the beer into the still hot skillet and scrape the bottom to release any browned bits.
- Pour this over the pork in the crockpot.
- Grate some of the orange and lime to zest over the pork.
- Cut the orange and add to the pot with the onions, garlic, maple syrup and remaining beer.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. The meat should be completely tender and easily shred with a fork.
- Remove the meat from the juices and crockpot, shred and pull into chunks with forks.
- *Reserve 1-2 cups of the juice. *see note below
- Preheat broiler and layer pulled pork on a baking sheet (with edges and foil for easy cleanup).
- Pour some juice *step 12* over the shredded pork and set under broiler to get nice caramelization and crispy bits. You may need to do this more than once for all of the pulled pork.
**If the liquid in the crockpot after removing the pork is very fatty drop a couple ice cubes in it. Let it sit a minute and then ladle and discard some of the fat which has separated. After broiling the shredded pork you can simmer and reduce the leftover juices from the crockpot and use it as a sauce when serving.