These Shortcut Pork Carnitas are a new family favorite at my house and I’m excited to share them with you today!
True carnitas involve slow cooked pork which can be delicious but time consuming. These Shortcut Pork Carnitas are ready in 30 minutes or less and still bring amazing flavor to the table.
You can even turn this into a one-pot meal for simple clean up but I prefer to use two pots for the fastest possible prep time. I usually cook the pork in one pot while simultaneously sauteing veggies in a separate pan with a bit of oil or fat. Then combine by adding the veggies to the ground pork, and then add the remaining ingredients.
We love this Shortcut Pork Carnitas so much that I decided to grow our own poblano peppers this year and chop and freeze them for tasty carnitas all year long.
We’ve found different peppers still taste good in this recipe, just different. In a pinch I’ve used frozen fire roasted red peppers, fresh green peppers, and even banana peppers from our garden. Any pepper will work, although different varieties may alter the flavor a bit.
The same goes for onions. I’ve used regular white onions in this recipe and again, the taste is just a bit different. Not bad, just different. So just use whatever you’ve got on hand!
I prefer plain ground pork for Shortcut Pork Carnitas but sometimes use Bulk Mild Italian Sausage when it’s all I have on hand.
Update: we’re now raising our own pork, and it tastes amazing in this recipe! Do you have a good source for local, pasture raised pork? If not, I’ve got some tips for locating local pastured meat.
My favorite paleo tortilla options include these savory plantain tortillas, these simple paleo crepes, and these purchased coconut tortillas. Instead of tortillas, we often pair Shortcut Pork Carnitas with these paleo “tortilla” chips from Siete.
My DIY Fajita Spice Blend is pretty simple to whip up, so I like to make a big batch and store it in a mason jar in my pantry. The blend also makes a tasty seasoning for homemade sweet potato fries!
- 3 lbs ground pork
- Unrefined sea salt
- Ground black pepper
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 poblano peppers, finely chopped
- 2 TB fajita spice blend (see below)
- 1 6 oz can tomato paste
- 3-4 TB chicken broth
- optional: fresh cilantro
- ¼ c. chili powder
- 2 TB unrefined sea salt
- 2 TB paprika
- 1 TB onion powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 TB ground cumin
- Brown the pork in a large pan over medium-high heat, breaking up clumps as the meat cooks.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer to a dish with a slotted spoon. OR leave it in the pan, and cook the veggies in a separate pan. When the veggies are softened, add them to the pork and skip to step 6.
- Use the remaining grease to cook the onions and peppers.
- When veggies are softened, return pork to the pan.
- Add fajita spice blend, tomato paste, and 3-4 TB chicken broth.
- Cook, stirring, until well blended and saucy.
- Optional: garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.
Peppers: In a pinch I've used frozen fire roasted red peppers, green peppers, and even banana peppers. Any pepper will work, although different varieties may alter the taste a bit.
Onions: The same goes for onions. I've used regular white onions in this recipe and again, the taste is just a bit different. Not bad, just different.
Tortillas: My favorite paleo tortillas include these savory plantain tortillas, these simple paleo crepes, and these purchased coconut tortillas.
Fajita Spice Blend: Also makes a great seasoning for homemade sweet potato fries!
One pot vs. Two pots: I often use two pans for the fastest prep time possible. Cook the pork in one pot while simultaneously sauteing veggies in a separate pan, with a bit of oil or fat. Then combine and add remaining ingredients.
Kathleen Henderson is the Yankee behind the Homestead, where she keeps up with Mr. Native Texan, three busy boys, a large dog, an assortment of chickens and an organic garden on three beautiful acres in Northern Virginia. Yankee Homestead is where she organizes her tips, tricks and resources for a healthy life. Favorite topics include real food recipes, gluten-free living, essential oils and home remedies, all things natural and nontoxic, plus mommy musings and homeschooling resources. Find out more on the About page