Carnitas Rice Bowls with Pickled Onions and Cilantro Slaw

My mom, sister and I often swap recipes via email.  (You can read about another recipe my sister urged me to make here.)

Last weekend, a recipe for Homesick Texan Carnitas found its way from Sis to me.  Always succinct,  the link to the recipe was only accompanied by “this is a really good recipe” in the subject line.  🙂   (In a follow-up email, she did say it was great with pickled onions and coleslaw.  That comment inspired me to whip up this dish for our rice bowls.

With the help of Sis and Lisa and Homesick Texan, I present “Carnitas Rice Bowls with Pickled Onions and Cilantro Slaw.”

First, prepare your pork for simmering.  Start to finish the carnitas takes about three hours.


based on Homesick Texan Carnitas


  • 6-7 lbs. boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 c. orange juice
  • 1/2. fresh lime juice
  • 5-6 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 t. ground cumin
  • 1 t. fine sea salt
  • 1 chile in adobe, chopped


  1. Place the pork in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot. Add the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, cumin, salt, chile in adobe and enough water to just barely cover the meat. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for two hours. Don’t touch the meat.
  2. After two hours, increase the heat to medium-high and while occasionally stirring and turning the pieces, continue to cook for about 45 minutes, or until all of the liquid has evaporated, leaving only the rendered pork fat. Let it sizzle in this fat long enough to brown at the edges, turning pieces gently (they’ll be eager to fall apart), only as needed.
  3. When pork has browned on both sides, it’s ready. Adjust seasonings to taste.  

Meanwhile, pickle the onions:

Quick Pickled Onions


  • 2 c. filtered water
  • 3 T. red wine vinegar
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 t. fine sea salt


  1. Bring water, vinegar, honey, and salt to a boil. Add onions and simmer, uncovered for 3 minutes.
  2. Drain and set aside.

Then make the slaw:

Cilantro Slaw


  • 1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 t. honey
  • 1 t. fresh ginger, grated
  • dash of red chile flakes
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 t. fine sea salt
  • 1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bag coleslaw mix


  1. In a blender, blend vinegar, honey, ginger, red pepper, oil, salt and cilantro.
  2. Mix with coleslaw mix. Let stand, tossing occasionally, until slaw is a bit wilted (about 10 minutes).


To construct bowls:

  1. Cook 1 cup long-grain brown rice according to directions.
  2. Prepare whatever add-ins and garnishes you like.  We used some cherry tomatoes and avocado.
  3. Place 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cooked rice in serving bowl.  Add carnitas, slaw and red onions.  Pile on other toppings as desired.
  4. Serve.

I recommend a squeeze of lime as well.

(Maybe when we get off our diet I will wrap this all up in a tortilla with LOTS of cheese!)

11 comments to Carnitas Rice Bowls with Pickled Onions and Cilantro Slaw