Chipotle Carnitas (Copycat)

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Chipotle Carnitas is easy to make right in your slow cooker. A few spices and the secret ingredient and your Chipotle Carnitas will be the star every time!!

Chipotle Carnitas on a plate

Two words .. Chipotle. Carnitas.  I don’t care how many times I have been to Chipotle Mexican Grill, I always order the same thing. Chipotle Carnitas!
Then one day I decided to try making it on my own and I was amazed at how much this easy homemade version of Chipotle Carnitas tastes like the real deal. Just a few spices you probably already have on hand and the secret ingredient and you too will make the most amazing carnitas you have ever had out of your slow cooker.

WHAT IS CHIPOTLE CARNITAS?

Chipotle Carnitas is shredded braised pork that has been cooking in the slow cooker for 8-10 hours, although it is traditionally slow cooked with lard. It is simply spiced and when the pork cooks for that long at a low temperature, it becomes tender and flavorful and perfect for serving on it’s own or adding it to tacos, enchiladas or burrito bowls

WHAT IS THE SECRET INGREDIENT TO CHIPOTLE CARNITAS?

Ahh… The secret ingredient to make the spot on version of Chipotle Carnitas is JUNIPER BERRIES.  Yes, juniper berries. I have made this recipe with the juniper berries and without and in my opinion, the juniper berries is what really makes the difference.

Chipotle Carnitas close up

HOW DO I MAKE CHIPOTLE CARNITAS?

First, you want to sear your pork for your Chipotle Carnitas. This is important for locking in those amazing flavors. Set a large pot or dutch oven on your stove top, add in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and heat it on High for 5 minutes. While that is heating, rinse your pork butt with water and pat it dry. Season liberally with salt and pepper  .. all sides. One the pot has heated up, carefully add the pork to the oil and cook for 4 minutes a side until all sides have been cooked and have a good crust on them from the cooking. Move the pork to the slow cooker and add in bay leaves, dried thyme, juniper berries and water. Cook on Low for 8-10 hours or on High for 4-6 hours. After cooking time, remove carnitas from the cooking liquid and shred using two forks. Skim off the fat layer from the cooking liquid and return the shredded pork to the liquid to soak up those juices. Serve your Chipotle Carnitas immediately or transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet and broil in your oven for 3-5 minutes to crisp up the edges.

HELFUL TIPS

  • If you are unable to find juniper berries for your Chipotle Carnitas at your local grocery store, try looking at a fresh market or organic grocery store.  I had a heck of a time finding mine locally until I looked at my local Farmers Market.

Looking for more Chipotle copycat recipes?  Check out my Chipotle Corn Salsa, Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice and Chipotle Fresh Tomato Salsa!!

ENJOY!! – HEATHER

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Chipotle Carnitas piled up

Chipotle Carnitas on a plate

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Chipotle Carnitas

Chipotle Carnitas close up
Chipotle Carnitas is easy to make right in your slow cooker. A few spices and the secret ingredient and your Chipotle Carnitas will be the star every time!! | A Wicked Whisk | https://www.awickedwhisk.com
Heather - A Wicked Whisk
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Serving Size 12 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 pound pork butt roast either bone in or bone out
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon whole juniper berries
  • 3 bayleaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

  • To sear your pork set a large pot or dutch oven on your stove top, add in 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and heat it on High for 5 minutes. 
  • While that is heating, rinse your pork butt with water and pat it dry. Season liberally with salt and pepper .. all sides. One the pot has heated up, carefully add the pork to the oil and cook for 4 minutes a side until all sides have been cooked and have a good crust on them from the cooking. 
  • Move the pork to the slow cooker and add in bay leaves, dried thyme, juniper berries and water. Cook on Low for 8-10 hours or on High for 4-6 hours. After cooking time, remove pork from the cooking liquid and shred using two forks. 
  • Skim off the fat layer from the cooking liquid and return the shredded pork to the liquid to soak up those juices. Serve immediately or transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet and broil in your oven for 3-5 minutes to crisp up the edges.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 430kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.7g | Protein: 0.6g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 31g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 122mg | Sodium: 995mg | Potassium: 20mg | Fiber: 0.9g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 210mg
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