So we’ve been trying to do our best to use what we have in our freezer before restocking it with meat. So after eating everything except a whole coho salmon, we were left with a slab of pork shoulder I had picked up for a bbq. I had 15lbs of meat at the start, used half on the bbq, and another chunk trying out a Phillipino fried pork dish (which it looks like I apparently forgot to post). I am just not a fan of pork, except for the universally loved heaven food called bacon. Which makes coming up with ideas to cook with it a bit challenging.
On the other hand, I do love a good al pastor or pork carnitas. So when I was perusing a local Mexican supplies store and found small bricks of achiote / annato powder and a variety of peppers, I knew of a way to use up that pork. And to keep it low carb, I used lemon juice instead of orange, which I know affects the flavour, but didn’t want to add the sugars from oranges.
Note that out of the literal basket of spices I have, I am out of chili powder. So I used a couple of 2 large dried ancho chilies, gave them a quick roast off in a pan and ground them into powder. 
While at the store I also picked up some Mexican cumin and some Mexican oregano. I wasn’t expecting much of a difference, but the cumin had quite a different aroma, almost like anise. The oregano was very much like a Sicilian oregano that is sold on the stalks, wonderfully pungent and very granular.
Oh, secondary note, I didn’t know how much pork I really had. I’d have to say at least 5lbs? Maybe 6? Alot anyways. Regardless, it made a boat load and we’ll have enough for supper tomorrow as well as some for the freezer.
To keep it low carb, I not only used lemon juice, but served it with lettuce wraps to put the pork into.

Pork Carnitas


Spice Mix

  • 3 tablespoon chili powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground Mexican cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground Indian cumin
  • 4 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 4 teaspoons salt or more, to taste
  • 3 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspon Tajin


  • All purpose rub
  • 5-6 pound pork shoulder excess fat trimmed and sliced into thick strips
  • 4 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 fresh thai red chilies lightly charred (done when toasting the ancho chilies)
  • 1 to asted ancho chili stem removed


  • Prepare the spice mix by combining the spice ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Once the bulk of the fat has been trimmed from the shoulder, cut into thick strips, and give a very liberal dusting of an all-purpose rub.
  • Place the meat, onion, garlic, whole ancho pepper, thai chilies in a crockpot / slow cooker, dust with half the spice, and toss to mix it all up.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the spice mix on top and give another toss.
  • Pour the juice in and set the crockpot to cook for 8 hours on low or 5 hours on high.
  • Once complete, remove the meat from the pot and pour the juices into saucepot.
  • Bring to a boil, and reduce, boiling for about 5-8 minutes.
  • Shred the meat with 2 forks.
  • Pour the sauce over the meat until its your desired wetness.


I gave everything a toss about half way through, just to make sure everything was evenly coated by the juices.
Adapted from Damn Delicious

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