Wednesday, September 9, 2009


So, I got tired of paying for the sub-standard carnitas at the local carniceria so I decided to come up with my own version.

This is what I came up with.

The Meat
2.5 lbs Boston butt pork roast
2 tbsb. kosher salt
1 tbsp. black peppercorns, ground
1 tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. achiote (annato)
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. Mexican oregano
1/2 tbsp. onion powder
1 small white onion, sliced thinly

The Tacos
3 dozen corn tortillas
3 cups white onion, finely diced
6 jalapenos, finely diced
2 bunches cilantro, washed and chopped roughly
Salsa of your choice
3 avocados, peeled and sliced


Combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder, achiote, cayenne pepper, Mexican oregano, and onion powder to make a dry rub. Liberally coat the meat on all sides and place in a slow cooker:

Place the sliced onion on top and cook on High for 5 hours or more, until the meat is extremely tender.

Remove the meat from the slow cooker and shred using two forks:

Transfer to a cookie sheet or wide, shallow pan and place under a broiler, stirring occasionally, to crisp up the tips of the meat, about 10-20 minutes.

Remove from broiler and serve on corn tortillas topped with onions, jalapeno, cilantro, salsa, and avocado.

The festive red tortillas are optional!

I was really, really happy with the way these turned out, but there are a few things I want to try the next time I make them.

Instead of cooking the entire roast whole, I plan on cutting it up into large cubes, say about 1 inch to 1.5 inches per side. This will give the spice rub more surface area to cling to, which should get even more flavor into the meat (which was already very flavorful).

Additionally, rather than shredding the pork, I'm going to leave it all cubed when I put in the broiler, as the cube form is the most common way I've seen this dish prepared.

UPDATE: The good people over at the Houston Press food blog, Eating our Words, decided to feature an optional photo of this dish today! What a nice way to start my morning!

Apart from their bizarre obsession with Anthony Bourdain, they're great folks.

Thanks to Katharine and all the other folks at the Houston Press!


  1. Good idea for getting them crispy! Is this ground achiote?

  2. Yes, it was just normal powdered achiote. =)

  3. Sounds like a similar recipe I did in the slow cooker recently. A bit simpler with 2 tbsp salt, 2tbsp pepper, 2tbsp mexican oregano. Made a rub of it as well in the mortar & pestle. Turned out better than any of the wetter carnitas I've made in the past.

    I've got another bit of meat in the freezer and think I'll pickup the additional spices and try yours as well.