Sheet pan carnitas coming up! Instead of pulling out the pressure cooker or slow cooker, let you oven do the work it was intended for! I know, I know, those other options may seem easier in some cases. The oven method exposes more of the meat surface allowing it to brown nicely. I don’t want to discourage you whichever way you decide to prepare them.
Brine! Brine! Brine!
Once I learned about brining and tested it, I was hooked! It adds so much flavor all through out the pork when I take the time to prepare it. The brine works great for these sheet pan pork carnitas. Great for chicken too!
Does The Brine Make It Too Salty?
I used to think that it would, but it really doesn’t. The sugar and salt balance each other out nicely. A highly seasoned brine is what you need to achieve the flavor through out the meat.
Choose What Works Best For You
Not all of us have the luxury of working from home. Meal planning is a must when working outside the home. Eating out is nice once in a while, but I find it to be mostly disappointing, in most cases. If the pressure cooker or crock pot works best for your meal planning, then do that.
Do You Love Spicing It Up?
The picture below is this same recipe, but using more spices on the pork. I used thick pork steaks with bone. After the brine, I seasoned them with granulated 2 tsps granulated garlic, 1 1/2 tsps cumin and 2 tsps chile ancho powder. I seared them well in hot pork lard then covered and roasted as instructed in the recipe below.
Sheet Pan Pork Carnitas
- 2 tsps avocado or olive oil
- 1/2 medium white onion, sliced
- 2 serrano peppers sliced
- 4-6 cloves of garlic
- 1 1/2 tbsps salt
- 1 1/2 tbsps sugar
- Fresh ground pepper
- 6 cups water
- 3 pounds pork butt/shoulder sliced into 2 inch pieces
- Pork lard melted
- 3 jalapeños sliced into strips
- 8 large spring onions
- In a medium pot, add the 2 tsps of oil. Heat to medium. Add the onion, garlic and serrano peppers. Saute for 6-8 minutes. Pour in the 6 cups of water. Mix in the sugar and salt. Add fresh pepper, to taste. Bring up to a light simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let brine cool completely.
- Once brine has cooled, add the pork chunks, making sure they are completely submerged. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.
- After pork has marinated, drain all the liquid away using a colander. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F while pork comes up to room temperature.
- Transfer pork to a large sheet pan lined with foil paper. Season pork with fresh cracked pepper. Drizzle with some melted pork lard or avocado oil. Add sliced jalapeños and spring onions(if using). Cover tightly with foil paper and roast in the oven for 1 hour.
- After an hour, remove the foil paper from carnitas. Turn oven temperature up to 450 degrees F. Return to oven and continue roasting until the liquid evaporates and carnitas begin to caramelize and brown. This may take up to 45-50 minutes. At this point, you will have to turn the carnitas every 5 to 6 minutes to achieve a crisp and brown exterior. I like to drizzle with a little lard or oil during the last 10 minutes. You can place them under the broiler for 1-2 minutes for extra browning.
- Remove carnitas from oven and let them sit for 5 minutes. Serve as is or chop into smaller pieces for tacos. Serve with your favorite tacos fixings or with a side of rice and beans.