Carnitas, or “little meats” is a traditional Mexican dish that has been given a Micronutrient Miracle approved makeover by our friend Holly Dorsey Morello NTP! These crispy carnitas are sure to please, and she's even included variations for those following our Ketogenic protocol. Here are her instructions for creating the perfect crispy carnitas!
- 3 pound pork roast (we got our from Carmen Ranch) – any size works though!
- 1 large or 2 small onions
- 2-5 garlic cloves to taste
- An assortment of peppers to taste (usually we use a couple sweet bells, some Italian, poblano, jalapeño, cherry bomb and whatever looks good) to go into the carnitas
- Sweet bell peppers to for serving – 1 per person (optional)
- Sweet bell pepper for topping (optional)
- Red or sweet onion for topping (optional)
- Holly’s House Tex-Mex Spice Blend (recipe below)
- Fat for sautéing (we use pastured lard from happy local pigs we get at Salt, Fire, and Time)
- Oaxaca or your favorite Mexican style cheese for topping (optional/Not Paleo)
- For optional sweet bell pepper cups, cut peppers to the size of the cup you want (roughly 1/3- 1/2), set aside and put remaining part of the peppers with the rest of the veggies.
- Roughly chop all remaining veggies, including the left over pepper cups sections, and toss into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Set aside.
- Cut pork roast into 2-4 chunks.
- Rub the meat with Holly’s House Tex-Mex Spice Blend (recipe below) and brown on skillet seasoned lightly with the pastured lard. I use locally pastured lard from Salt, Fire, and Time. I am generous with the amount of rub, using a couple tablespoons at least. If I need to save some time, I skip the browning – the carnitas are still delicious and you might like them better – so experiment!
- Line bottom of Instant Pot with 1/2 the chopped veggies, place in browned meat, top with remaining veggies, then using Meat/Stew setting on the Instant Pot, set on high pressure for 70 min. (the cook time really takes about 90 by the time it warms up and then releases the steam at the end). If you don’t have an Instant Pot, place in a 325 degree oven for about 2-3 hours until meat is tender and easily comes apart with a fork.
- Remove pork pieces, bone (if there is one) and drain liquid, saving veggies for the carnitas and the liquid for soup later (or, you might light wetter carnitas that I do, my adult son likes some of the liquid in there). If there are large chunks of fat, you can remove that too. Save the bone in your freezer to make bone broth later.
- Place pork in the baking dish and shred with a fork. Add the veggies to the shredded meat and stir to combine. Sprinkle about another tablespoon more Tex-Mex blend over mixture.
- Crisp in 400 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes – stirring about every 5. (This last step is optional, not everyone loves their carnitas crispy!). Note: I recommend tasting after the first 10 minutes to see if you need to add more salt.
- While carnitas are crisping, cut the your red peppers into serving size cups (depending on the size of your peppers 1/2-1/3) – save remaining as a garnish for serving), brush with fat left over from browning your meat (or melted ghee, pastured lard), grill or smoke your bell pepper cups (or another veggie – I love carnitas with Portabella mushrooms too). Usually I turn the smoker on high before I remove the meat and veggies from the Instant Pot so it’s ready to go when I put the carnitas in the oven, the bell pepper cups take approximately 15 – 20 minutes to cook. If you don’t have access to a smoker or grill, you can use your oven: rub peppers with a fat as described above for the smoker/grill, preheat oven to 400 and bake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or use a cast iron pan) – check in about 10 minutes – it will likely need about 20. You may have to experiment with your temperature to get the desired results.
- For an optional topping/garnish, slice 1 sweet bell pepper and 1 onion thinly and sauté in lard while carnitas are crisping.
Scoop approximately 1/4 cup of crisped carnitas into cooked bell pepper cups, top with sautéed onion/peppers (Oaxaca cheese too if it fits within your dietary protocol)!
- Serve with green salad with guacamole as dressing.
TIME SAVING TIP: Do not brown meat and omit all but 1 or 2 spicy peppers, skip browning/crisping.
For Holly's Mexican spice blend:
“I combine spices from bulk Frontier Organic spices. I made big batches at a time. Here’s my batch recipe, I use this mixture on chicken, fish, and beef too! I even use it on roasted potatoes. I also use it when I make my weekly batch of Beef Chili. I show the layer in this photo but please combine thoroughly before using!”
- 1/2 cup Chili Powder
- 1/4 cup Ground Cumin
- 1/4 cup Granulated Garlic
- 1/4 cup Granulated Onion
- 1/2 – 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
- 1/4 cup Himalayan Sea salt (adjust to taste – often food still needs to be salted)
For Ketogenic: Carnitas are a great conduit for fat! Holly pours an additional tablespoon of her favorite MCT/Coconut oil blend, (SKINNYFat of course!) on top of her carnitas. Holly says, “Some people cannot eat red peppers and stay in ketosis in that case, I recommend using my other favorite caritas cup, a Portabella mushroom or even mushroom caps work great as do red cabbage lettuce cups!”
Thanks again to Holly for this wonderful recipe, you can view it on her website here. Also, special thanks to Micki Daniel one of our fabulous CMS, for this lovely shot! Be sure to tag us on Instagram if you