Combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together until sugar and salt is fully dissolved.
Place onion in a jar or bowl (I like to use a mason jar). Pour vinegar mixture over the onions and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour if you're in a rush. Preferably, cover jar or bowl and place in refrigerator for at least 1 day. Pickled onions will last for a few weeks stored in the refrigerator.
Use pickled onions to top tacos, nachos, sandwiches, salads, and more!
Pan frying to get the golden brown crunchy bits is not optional! Broiling/grilling will not produce the same results as it dries it out and defeats the purpose of wonderfully moist slow cooked pork. My other "must do" step is to pour the juices in the slow cooker over the pulled pork - this adds so much flavour and makes it even juicier!
5 lb / 2.5 kg pork shoulder, skinless, bone-in (4lb/2kg without bone)
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and ribs removed, chopped
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 oranges, juice only
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp olive oil
Rinse and dry the pork shoulder, rub in salt and pepper.
Combine the rub ingredients then rub all over the pork.
Place the pork in a slow cooker (fat cap up), top with the onion, jalapeño, minced garlic (don't worry about spreading it) and squeeze over the juice of the orange.
Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 6 hours.
The meat should be tender and falling off the bone. Remove from the slow cooker and let cool slightly. Then shred the pork using two forks.
Skim off the fat from the juices remaining in the slow cooker and discard the fat. Then if you are left with a lot more than 1½ to 2 cups of juice, then reduce it (either in the slow cooker on the sauté setting with the lid off, or in a saucepan). Set aside.
Pour the juices over the pulled pork and store in ziplock bags or airtight containers. Freeze in small batches for convenience. To use, defrost completely before following the next steps to brown.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large non stick pan over high heat. Place shredded pork into the pan and press down and cook until the bottom side is golden brown and crusty.
Pour over the juices and serve immediately (if you are using defrosted carnitas, this is not applicable as the juices are already on the meat).
If you are reheating the carnitas, then flip and cook the other side briefly just to warm through. I really recommend only making one side crusty and leaving the other side juicy and moist.
1. If you are using a piece of pork that is more than 1 lb / 0.5 kg larger or smaller than the prescribed size, ensure you adjust the other ingredients accordingly.
2. To make this in the oven, add 1 cup of water to the braising liquid. Place in 325F/160C oven for 2 hours, covered, then roast for a further 1 to 1.5 hours uncovered. Add more water if the liquid dries out too much. You should end up with 1½ to 2 cups of liquid when it finishes cooking.
If you make this recipe in the oven, you could skip the pan frying step because you will get a nice brown crust on your pork.