Citrus-Pulled Pork with Pickled Onions
Many years ago, I learned how to make “Cochinita Pibil,” or pork cooked in banana leaves. The banana leaves were used to help braise the pork--much like a Dutch oven functions today—and the hand-ground spices help create a delicious broth for the meat, allowing you to serve it over rice and beans or as a filling for tacos, enchiladas, and more. Over the past two decades, I’ve continued to simplify the ingredients and method to create a recipe that takes only minutes to prep. When it comes to slow-cooking, I prefer to put this in my oven or on my Traeger grill but if you have a slow cooker, that certainly works as well! Photo: Andee McKenzie
- 6 cups boneless pork shoulder Butt roast (aka Boston butt or pork shoulder)
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp Mexican spice blend
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock or broth
- If not already divided, cut the pork shoulder into pieces that are 6” wide. Trim off any excess fat on the outside of the pork. (The meat itself is well-marbled.) Sprinkle the meat with 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt. Place the pork in a Dutch oven or stock pot that has a tight-fitting lid.
- Combine the orange juice, lime juice, spice blend, and the garlic cloves. Stir to combine, then pour it over the pork, turning it with tongs to make sure the pork is covered in the marinade. Add up to 1 cup of stock to ensure the marinade is half way up the sides of the pot. Allow the pork to marinate for at least one hour at room temp, turning once. If time permits, allow it to marinate overnight in the fridge.
- When ready to cook, preheat the oven or Traeger to 350 degrees F. If the pork has been marinating in the fridge, allow the pot to sit out for one hour before cooking so it can come to room temperature. Place a tight-fitting lid on the pot and cook for 2.5-3.5 hours, or until a fork can easily pierce the meat to shred it.
- To remove the excess fat, allow the pork to cool in the pan with the lid off for about an hour. The fat will rise to the top. Use a spoon or ladle to remove the fat from the top. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the pan and shred with your hands, discarding any extra pieces of fat as you go.
- Taste, adding more salt to the pork if necessary. The pork can be served immediately or placed in a container along with its juices and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- Serve with pickled onions and lime slices along with tortillas for tacos or rice and beans for a family-style meal.
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