Pulled pork burritos, carnitas
Recently I found a great sale on Boston butt, aka pork shoulder. Normally we’d make some pulled pork BBQ sandwiches, but this time I was anxious for something spicy. As I was looking through the spice rack for inspiration I noticed a bottle of cumin left over from the Mojo Chicken wraps I made for my MasterChef recipe. With cumin in hand I decided I would make something similar to carnitas, a Mexican braised pork dish. To really pack in some flavor I chose some non-traditional carnitas ingredients. To complement the cumin, I chose to cook the pork for the pulled pork burritos in a mixture of paprika, chili powder, oregano, crushed tomatoes, chipolte powder, and cider vinegar.
Boston butt is tough cut of meat that requires a low and slow cooking method. A crock pot is really well suited for breaking down a large cut of meat. It’s also summer so any time I can avoid using the oven I will. The pork takes about 4-6 hours to become tender so plan ahead, this isn’t something you can throw together last minute. The nice thing is even though it takes an afternoon to cook, prep time is pretty short.
I was really pleased with how these pulled pork burritos turned out. The meat was tender, juicy and packed with flavor. Pulled pork burritos are an excellent way to break free of the BBQ pork sandwich rut, especially since pork shoulder has been on sale so frequently this summer.
WHAT TO BUY:
These are some pretty basic ingredients and low cost too. This is one dish that will stretch the family budget. Boston butt is usually a large cut of meat, try to get one that is about 4-5 lbs.
Try to find some good quality paprika. Keep in mind good doesn’t always mean it has to be expensive. I love paprika and I’m pretty picky about it. Surprisingly there is some very good Hungarian style paprika at our local supermarket that only runs a few bucks.
Any slow cooker will work it just depends on your style. I prefer a crock pot but you could use a dutch oven, or heavy bottom pot with a lid. Some nice large forks usually come in handy to pull the pork. You’ll also need a large pan for reducing some of the broth at the end to finish up the dish.
- 4-5lbs Boston Butt (Pork shoulder)
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tsp Sriracha (or Tabasco)
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp chipolte powder
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- Start by placing the Boston butt in the crock pot
- Next, add diced onions, garlic, and siracha
- add crushed tomatoes
- Next, combine the dry ingredients with vinegar in a small bowl or measuring cup. Mixing the spices in the crock pot can sometimes be difficult, this will help avoid that issue. Combine oregano, chili powder, paprika, cumin, chipolte, salt and pepper with vinegar, then add the mixture to the crock pot.
- Last, top off the crock pot with water, leave enough room at the top so the liquid doesn’t bubble over. Enough water to cover the meat should be plenty.
- Turn the crock pot to its low setting and allow it to simmer for 4-6 hours.
- Check the pot from time to time making sure the pot doesn’t need water.
- When the meat is fork tender, turn off the crock pot.
- Carefully remove the meat and set aside to cool, reserve the broth.
- Using a ladle, swirl the liquid at the to of the pot. Reverse direction and scoop as much fat off the top of the pot as possible and discard the fat.
- Remove 2 cups of broth and place in a sauté pan
- place the sauté pan on the stove and turn the heat to high
- bring the broth to a boil and reduce by half
- While the broth reduces, using two large forks shred the pork
- Once the broth has reduced by half reduce the heat to a low simmer. Add the shredded pork to the pan and simmer until for 5 minutes then turn off the heat. The pork should absorb the remaining broth.
- Serve with your favorite burrito toppings, cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo, siracha etc…
TIP: If you have any broth left over you can use it to make some delicious rice. Just use the broth instead of water. (If you have minute rice, you will need to reduce the broth by half first.)