Carnitas are a staple in my house; I make it often and with a variety of wild game. It's a great way to serve a crowd of people and is the perfect recipe for those tougher cuts of meat like the neck or shoulder.
This recipe can easily be done in a crockpot or a pressure cooker to cut down on cooking time. Either option will result in meat that falls off the bone and finishing the shredded carnitas under the broiler makes for crispy ends. Be sure to reserve the leftover liquids—they make a fantastic sauce!
- 2 tsp. onion powder
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tbsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. coriander
- 1 tbsp. Ancho chile powder
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 lb. venison (rump roast, shoulder, or neck)
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed but kept whole
- 2 cups stock
- 1 lime, juiced
- 3 tbsp. spice mix
- Favorite fat for cooking (duck fat, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, etc.)
- Onion, diced
- Queso Fresco
Also works with
- Mix together all ingredients for the spice blend. You won’t need all of it for this recipe, so store what isn’t used in an airtight container for future use or add to side dishes such as Spanish rice.
- The night before using, or at least a couple of hours in advance, rub 1 to 2 tablespoons of the spice blend over the venison meat and allow it to marinate in the refrigerator.
- Before cooking, allow the meat to come to room temperature. Preheat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of fat and brown the venison on both sides. Remove the venison and place a crockpot.
- Add the red onion to the saute pan and cook until softened. Next, add the garlic and cook for an additional minute until fragrant. Deglaze the pan with lime juice and stock, scraping any bits at the bottom, then add the onions and liquids to the crockpot with the venison. Add an additional tablespoon of the spice blend to the crockpot.
- Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours, or until the meat becomes extremely tender. Check on it periodically, if it appears to be getting dry or low on liquids, add a splash of stock.
- Use tongs to remove the meat from the crockpot and place it on a large sheet pan, reserving the liquids. Use two forks to shred the venison into little pieces and then broil in the oven at 500°F for 2 to 3 minutes. The little shredded bits should get crispy very fast. Don't overdo this or you will dry out the meat. Mix some of the reserved liquids into the shredded venison and serve as desired.
Notes You can also use a pressure cooker for this recipe. The ingredients and method are the same as above, except instead of removing the ingredients and putting them in a crockpot, I kept it inside the pressure cooker and locked the lid after browning and adding liquids. It was tender in less than 2 hours.