Slow-Roasted Pork Carnitas Sliders with Homemade Salsa Verde, Fresh Cilantro, Onion, and Chipotle Mayo

(Serves about 4-6)

3-4 pound pork butt
2 teaspoon salt
1 teapsoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 tablespoon lime juice
3 tablespoons canola oil, plus extra for drizzling
12 Hawaiian rolls (if serving 4 people)
• Chipotle Mayo (recipe below)
• Homemade Salsa Verde (recipe below)
½ onion, thinly sliced
½ cup cilantro leaves

Preparation:

-Place the pork on a large platter or in a large bowl; in a ramekin, combine the salt with the rest of the ingredients through the canola oil, and mix to form a paste/marinade; rub this paste/marinade all over the pork very well, cover the pork with plastic wrap, place into fridge and allow the meat to marinate for at least 4 hours, or ideally, over night; once ready to prepare the meat, take it out of the fridge and allow it to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes to 1 hour before roasting.

-Preheat your oven to 300°; line a baking sheet with foil, and place a wire rack on top of the baking sheet; once the oven is heated, place the pork with the fat-side up onto the wire rack, and drizzle lightly with oil; if you have an oven-safe thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the meat, and place the meat into the oven to roast for approximately 3½ – 4 hours, or until the thermometer registers 170° and the meat is pretty much “falling off the bone”; remove from oven and allow it to rest for about 10-20 minutes, or until it's cool enough to handle.

-Once slightly cooled, pull the meat apart and shred or chop it into bite-sized pieces, and add it into the drippings from the roasting process, and toss the pork to coat; place the pork into a bowl or onto a platter to hold, covering with foil to keep warm. (*You can prepare the recipe up to this point if you're doing it ahead; just cover the pork and keep in fridge until you'd like to enjoy the sandwiches, then just heat some oil in a skillet, add some of the meat in, and caramelize it a little bit until hot and crispy; then assemble sliders.)

-To prepare the sliders, spread some of the Chipotle Mayo on the buns, add about 2 ounces of the pork to the bottom bun, drizzle with the Homemade Salsa Verde and top with some of the sliced onion and fresh cilantro leaves; serve 3 sliders per person. (*Alternately, you can also use the larger-sized Hawaiian sandwich buns, or other slightly “sweet” type of bun such as brioche, to make a larger-sized sandwich instead of sliders; just use about 4-6 ounces of meat in that case.)

Chipotle Mayo ingredients:

1 cup mayonnaise
1-2 chipotle peppers (depending on how spicy you like it)
1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from the chipotle peppers tin)
• Pinch salt/black pepper

Preparation:

-Place all ingredients into the bowl of the food processor and puree until smooth and creamy; store in a covered container in fridge until ready to use.

Homemade Salsa Verde ingredients:

1 – 1 ¼ pounds tomatillos, husks and stems removed, and quartered
2 long, green chili peppers (Anaheim, Banana, Hungarian), halved, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 jalapeno, halved, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 onion, paper removed and quartered
4 cloves garlic, papers removed
• Olive oil
• Salt
• Black pepper
½ cup cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons honey
3-4 tablespoons water

Preparation:

-Preheat your oven to 450°, and line a baking sheet with foil.

-Add the tomatillos, the green chili peppers, the jalapeno, the onion and the garlic to a large bowl, and drizzle in about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and add a couple of good pinches of salt and black pepper; turn the veggies out onto the foil-lined baking sheet and roast them for about 40 minutes and until slightly charred; allow to cool.

-Add the cooled veggies, along with all of their juices, into the bowl of a food processor; add the cilantro leaves and the honey, and puree the mixture until smooth and silky; if the mixture seems a little thick, add the 3-4 tablespoons of water to thin it out slightly, and check to see if additional salt is needed to round out the flavor; pour into a container and cover, and keep in the fridge until ready to use. (*This salsa is also great on eggs, breakfast burritos, chicken, beef—a lot of other things; so enjoy any left-overs in creative ways.)