Sometimes I’m such an old stick-in-the-mud*. I wish it wasn’t true but, in this particular case, I just can’t help it.
We have a fabulous Mexican restaurant within a mile of our home. It’s been voted numerous times as one of the best restaurants here in Raleigh. Their menu is fairly small, but has lots of variety, offering chicken, pork, steak, fish and vegetarian entrees. When I’m feeling lazy (more often than I like to admit) or rushed for time, we love to call in an order and within 30 minutes there’s a delicious Mexican dinner on our table.
Every time we get ready to order, I think the same thing: “This time, I’m going to try something different”. My eyes scroll down the online menu and I stop, every time at the Carnitas – corn tortilla / slow roasted pork / cilantro / tomatillo salsa / onions. I can’t bring myself to read any further. Then I say to Scott, “This time, I’m going to try something different. I’ll have the Carnitas”. And he starts laughing. See what I mean?
An old stick-in-the-mud.
I decided a while back to work on my own version of Slow Roasted Mexican Pork, and when I saw Boston butt on sale at one of the local markets, I purchased one of the big, (somewhat intimidating looking) cuts of pork. I tried a recipe from one of my favorite web sites, but we didn’t think it was super flavorful, so the next time, I put together my own version. I went through a couple of these roasts before I got the recipe right. They’re sold with or without a bone and I’ve found the boneless a bit easier to work with, though either one works fine.
Just a heads up: this recipe makes a lot! An average bone-in Boston butt roast is around eight pounds. You could probably get a smaller piece of pork from your butcher and half the recipe, but the wonderful thing about this pork is the fact that it freezes beautifully. If I’m not serving a crowd, I like to divide the pork into portions and freeze it to pull out on busy days, when I need a meal in a hurry.
I love to serve this Slow Roasted Mexican Pork, as pictured, on corn or flour tortillas with Avocado Crema, Pickled Red Onions, chopped white onions, sweet corn (I like to use this method to slightly steam and husk at the same time) and cilantro, but there are lots of other ways to use this succulent, tender meat. It’s great in salads, (with this Mexican-inspired dressing), in quesadillas served with a side of the Avocado Crema, in nachos, burritos, enchiladas, and on it’s own, with beans and rice.
If you’re looking for something delicious to feed a crowd, this is it! I love that all the work can be done in advance. It’s also wonderful to have some stashed in the freezer, for busy weeknights.
Next time you see a Boston butt or (pork shoulder) on sale, throw one in your cart. When you get home, cut it up, stir together the braising sauce and pop the whole works in the oven (or slow cooker). Your house will have the wonderful aroma of an exotic Mexican cantina. But just a warning: your family/friends may become old “sticks-in-the-mud” and beg for this over and over!
P.S. If you want to take a meal right over the top, try serving this pork with these Homemade Flour Tortillas. It’s crazy to me, but this is the all-time most popular Café recipe! Check out the comments; I’ve had people from all over the globe write and share their wonderful results. *For readers from other parts of the world who don’t understand our strange American slang, “stick-in-the-mud” means a boring, very boring person!
- 7-8 pound Boston butt roast
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon dry oregano
- 2 tablespoons dry onion
- 3 medium-size bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar packed
- 6 medium cloves cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 ½ cups water
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
Preheat oven to 300˚F.
Cut pork into approximately 2 1/2 to 3-inch cubes, trimming off any large portions of fat. You won't be able to trim it all off and some fat is important for the flavor. If you have a bone-in roast just cut the meat from around the bone as much as possible.
Combine remaining ingredients in a large dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot with a lid. Stir well, then add pork and stir again. Bring to a boil on the stove top, then cover and place in preheated oven. Bake for 3 1/2-4 hours or until meat is very tender.
Drain meat, reserving liquid. Set meat aside to cool slightly.
Pour drained liquid through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium size pot. Add tomato paste and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cook until thick and syrupy and reduced to about 11/4 cups.
With two forks, shred each piece of pork into 2 or 3 pieces. Place shredded meat into a large oven-safe dish. Add enough of the reduced liquid to moisten meat. Gently stir to coat the pork.
Rewarm, if needed, in the oven (or microwave on power level 5). Serve pork on it's own, with rice and beans or in tacos, carnitas, enchiladas, burritos,. etc.
Pork can also be cooked in a crock pot or slow cooker. Follow directions and place in crock pot insert. Cover and cook on high or 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours or until meat easily shreds with a fork.
Pork can be rewarmed in the oven or microwave (power level 5). Serve pork on it's own, with rice and beans or in tacos, carnitas, enchiladas, burritos,. etc.