Pulled Pork Carnitas

I love crock pots. There's something wonderful about being able to stick in a large chunk of meat, walk away, and have it ready for dinner the next night! I fully expected to not like this meal, because I seem to be hit or miss with sweet potatoes. Add in the thought of piling up meat on top of sweet potatoes, and I really wasn't that excited. I've seen this recipe all over Instagram, and everyone raves about it, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

The finished Pork Picnic before I took it out to shred. 

The finished Pork Picnic before I took it out to shred. 

he original recipe calls for a Pork Shoulder- aka a Boston Butt or a Pork Butt. I was already close to the end of my grocery budget for this week, so I decided to use a Pork Picnic instead. Honestly, I had never even heard of a Pork Picnic before, but a quick Google search informed me it was a good substitute. Apparently there is a slight difference between the Boston Butt and the Pork Shoulder. The Boston Butt is cut above the shoulder blade and is high on the hog. (Side note- doesn't that expression make so much sense now? Those Boston Butts aren't cheap!) The Pork Shoulder is directly below the Butt cut, and includes most of the front leg quarter. That's why the meat is a little tougher. The Pork Picnic is a shoulder cut with the hock bone still attached, but many consider it to have more flavor.  Now you know... and can make more economical choices at the grocery store!

had read that the picnic cuts could be tougher, so I decided to put the pork in the crock pot the night before so it could slow cook for a long time. I almost forgot, so it went in around 11pm. I poured two cups of water, 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar, and added 3 large spoonfuls of minced garlic to the crock pot before adding the entire pork picnic. (Don't worry- the exact recipe is below.) Topped the meat with garlic, a little cumin, and paprika and put the lid on. I didn't touch the crock pot again until about 5pm the next day! How easy is that?! The only thing I had to worry about the night of was roasting the sweet potatoes. 

                         Pulled Pork Carnitas over a Roasted Sweet Potato with a side of Collards

                         Pulled Pork Carnitas over a Roasted Sweet Potato with a side of Collards

PULLED PORK CARNITAS over a ROASTED SWEET POTATO

Servings: 4-6

What do I need? 

  • Boston Butt or a Pork Picnic
  • 2 Cups of Water
  • 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 Large Spoonfuls of Minced Garlic
  • 1 TSP Cumin
  • 1 TSP Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Green Onions, 1/2 cup sliced tops
  • Sweet Potatoes

What do I do?

  1. Pour the water, vinegar, and garlic into the crock pot. I also added a dusting of salt to the water. 
  2. Add the pork, and sprinkle the cumin, paprika, and a little more salt and pepper on top of the meat.  
  3. If cooking the night before, turn the crock pot on low heat. If you forget, put it all in the crock pot the morning of and turn it on high heat.  
  4. Walk away. 
  5. An hour before dinner, preheat your oven to 425. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork and roast them on a baking sheet for 45 minutes. 
  6. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, you can remove pieces of pork from the crock pot, place on a plate, and shred it with a fork. It should fall apart easily! 
  7. When the sweet potatoes are done, cut them open, add the pork, top with the green onions and enjoy! I added some sliced avocado on top and it was delicious! 

This pork would also be delicious in barbeque sandwiches or on tacos if you're not doing a Whole30. My husband had seconds and there's still a good amount left for lunch for both of us! I served it with a side of collards because I still have a gigantic bowl left from new year's day!