Easy Recipe: Slow-Cooker Citrus Pork (with quick-pickled red onions)
When I ask you all what kind of recipes you’d like to see more of, it never fails that slow-cooker Paleo recipes are what you want most.
Well, maybe second most, after treats. But you guys know I am only going to give you so many of those, right? After last week’s scones, I figured this week would be perfect for a slow cooked pork recipe that’s Paleo and 21DSD-friendly!
You know how sometimes when you’re out to eat you order a dish that completely blows you away?
You take one bite and think, “Ok, this definitely can’t be strict Paleo, it’s almost too good!” So you set out to research ingredients and make it your own…? Well, that’s exactly what happened here – this is a simplified version of Cochinita Pibil that has also been adjusted to be 21-Day Sugar Detox-friendly.
Cochinita Pibil is a traditional mexican recipe from the Yucatan Peninsula and literally means “buried suckling pig.” I’m pretty sure most of you aren’t going to attempt to bury a pig on a random weeknight to make this meal, so I’ve simplified it with cubed pork shoulder and a crockpot. The traditional recipe calls for wrapping the pork in banana leaves (which I’m guessing most of us don’t have easy access to), which is a step that’s skipped here to keep it very simplified. I’m sure the banana leaves impart a flavor that can’t really be replicated, but when you’re cooking at home, you do what you can! Also, there’s usually spice in the recipe called achiote. In my research I realized the purpose of the achiote in the recipe was less about actual flavor and more about color – which can be replicated with easier to find spices: paprika and turmeric. To keep it nightshade-free, omit the paprika.
To make this an even more simplified dinner after a busy day, prepare the marinade and pickled onions the night before and let the meat sit in the marinade overnight. Throw both the meat and marinade in the slow cooker before you head out for your day and have dinner ready when you walk in the door!
These would be excellent paired with Zenbelly’s plantain tortillas (and would be okay for the energy modification on the 21DSD) or wrapped up in a thicker leafy vegetable like collard greens (pictured). The quick-pickled red onions are the perfect topper with the mildly sweet and very tender pork and would be great on a burger or over sausage as well if you have any left over or want to make them another time.
Easy Recipe: Slow-Cooker Citrus Pork
grain-free • gluten-free • dairy-free • nut-free • 21DSD
PREP TIME: 15 min
INACTIVE/MARINADE TIME: 2-10 hours
COOKING TIME: 6-8 hours
YIELD: 10 servings
NUTRITION INFO: see below! Does not include optional garnishes/additions.
- 4 pounds pork shoulder roast, cut into 2″ cubes
- 1 1/2 cups ruby red grapefruit juice, divided
- 10 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons paprika (omit for nightshade-free)
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 medium red onion
- optional: 1 avocado, sliced – as garnish
- optional: handful of cilantro, roughly chopped – as garnish
- optional: extra grapefruit slices – as garnish
- optional: collard greens – for wrapping
- For the marinade: combine 1 cup of the grapefruit juice, garlic cloves, and all the spices in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a plastic bag or dish and add the cubed pork shoulder, mixing until the meat is thoroughly coated. Refrigerate the meat mixture at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight for best flavor.
- To cook the pork, place the meat and marinade in a crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- Reduce the sauce (optional): remove the meat from the slow-cooker and separate the juices from the fat by skimming the top or using a gravy strainer. Pour the juices into a medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes until reduced and thickened. Serve over the meat.
- Make the quick-pickled red onions: bring at least a cup of water to a boil. While your water is heating up, cut the onion in half and make 1/4″ slices and place in a small bowl. Pour just enough boiling water over the onions to cover and let sit for 5 minutes, or until onions become slightly soft. Drain the water and add in the remaining 1/2 cup of grapefruit juice. Refrigerate the onions for at least an hour, but will have better flavor (and color!) if they sit in the grapefruit juice overnight.
- Serve over cauli-rice or wrapped in lettuce or collard green leaves and garnish with the pickled red onions, avocado, cilantro and/or salsa.
Yes, you can enjoy this recipe while on The 21-Day Sugar Detox.
Note: I earn a small commission if you use the links in this post to purchase the products mentioned. I only recommend products I would use myself or that I recommend for clients in my practice or at workshops. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you real information about nutrition and health.