I’m going to start off by just saying this recipe blew my socks off. The combinations of slow cooked pork, spices and tequila had me fighting off Mr. Bejelly so I could get thirds. Yes. Thirds.
It’s so good that I’m happy that I can share this gem of a recipe from my friend Ciarra’s new book The Frugal Paleo Cookbook. Ciarra is a rock star in the kitchen and she also knows how to stretch a budget when you’re on the Paleo Diet.
Hurry and buy her book so you can get this amazing bonus package (Ends on 12/1)
- My 20 Frugal Finds at Costco
- 10 Paleo Diet Myth Busters
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Carnitas are my very favorite thing to eat since going Paleo. Affordable pork shoulder simply seasoned and slowly braised gets my vote every time. But all of that aside, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: is tequila Paleo? The short answer is yes. Any variety other than “Joven” or “young” tequila will do, since that particular one is flavored with caramel and may not be gluten-free. Otherwise, tequila comes from a plant, is gluten-free and contains no added sugars or artificial ingredients. That, my friends, gets tequila on the Paleo-friendly ingredient list and therefore into my Dutch oven with a hunk of pork and a twist of lime. Pile this on top of a batch of cauliflower rice or a baked sweet potato and you’ve got a meal deserving of a social media share!
- 3 lbs (1.3 kg) pork shoulder, boneless
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- juice of two limes, about ½ cup (118 mL)
- 1 large jalapeño, seeded and fined minced (about ¼ cup/45 g)
- 1 cup (237 mL) pure tequila (gluten-free, no added sugars)
- ½ cup (118 mL) water
- 1 serving Taco Spice Blend
- 1 tsp (5 g) kosher salt
- 2 to 3 tbsp (30 to 45 g) lard or coconut oil
- Garnish with fresh cilantro and additional lime wedges
- Cut the pork shoulder into four or five even chunks and coat with Taco Spice Blend, plus the kosher salt.
- Get a Dutch oven up to medium high and melt in a couple tablespoons (30 to 45 grams) of lard or coconut oil (though lard is my favorite). Drop in the seasoned pork and sear the sides. If the spices are starting to burn, reduce the temperature just a bit. It’s also a good idea to work in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. If too many chunks of meat go in together the result will be steaming, not searing. Not pretty.
- Once seared, return all meat to the pan, drop in the sliced onion, crushed garlic and diced jalapeño. Lightly mix up the ingredients, but make sure the pork gets priority at the bottom of the dog-pile.
- Next pour in the fresh lime juice, water, and tequila. Bring to a boil, then reduce the temperature to simmer and cover.
- Let the pork braise stove top for two hours or until the pork falls apart easily when gently pressing with the back of a fork.
- Remove the Dutch oven from the heat, shred the pork (discard any fatty bits) and bring together with the juices. Scoop all the pork out, transfer to a baking dish and pop it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up the carnitas. Just eyeball it.
- Pour the remaining braising liquid over the carnitas and serve with fresh cilantro and a few lime wedges for squeezing. Other toppings that go great with carnitas are avocado, sliced radishes, finely diced red onion and even fresh pineapple, if you’re feeling adventurous.