Keto Pork Carnitas Nachos is the perfect low-carb snack meal! We know that some will champion the hamburg, a cut of pizza, tacos, or the all-American hot dog. But, nachos are more than just delicious. They are perfect for sharing, great with a cold “cerveza,” and can be Keto friendly! The challenge is making a low-carb tortilla chip to pair with authentic Mexican carnitas. Our recipe using pork “carnitas” will meet the challenge and become one of your favorites!
Start with the carnitas. It is basically slowly-roasted pulled pork with Mexican seasonings. Cooking low-and-slow is the secret to cooking any pork butt (actually pork shoulder). Joanie slowly roasts both pork and beef in the oven for hours until the meat simply falls apart. Our Dry Rub Beef Roast is a perfect example. That is the needed technique for carnitas, as well.
However, in a busy world, the classic slow-cooker or “crock pot” was a better tool for low-and-slow. But, today, it seems that the “instant pot” craze has taken over. So, we will ask our followers to try the recipe in their instant pot and add a comment with the perfect time.
Start with a “pork butt” with no strings attached. Seriously, if the pork roast you buy has strings, remove them before roasting. We also want our pulled pork to be authentic “Carnitas.” That literally means “little meats.” For us, it is a braised then slow-cooked pork roast that falls apart easily into stringy little pieces of perfectly seasoned meat. “Carnitas” are great for tacos, tostadas, and our nachos! Historically, the meat is cooked for a long time in lard. But, we skip the lard and instead allow the natural fats of the meat to cook down in our slow cooker.
The Mexican flavor for our carnitas comes from the rub and the cooking liquid. Before braising in a Dutch oven, we use a dry rub of traditional Mexican spices of garlic powder, cumin and chili powder. This will sear the juices in and provide for a crispy coating. In addition, the flavor is enhanced during the cooking process with a drizzle of adobo sauce, lime and orange juice, and a chopped chipotle chili. You can certainly obtain a more intense flavor. For instance, add a second chipotle or more adobo sauce.
The dry rub in our recipe should go on the meat first. Sear on all sides in a Dutch oven. Cast iron on medium-high heat works best. Once the meat is placed in the slow-cooker, pour the liquid ingredients over the top. While the meat cooks for 6 hours in the slow-cooker you will have the opportunity to make tortilla chips. We provide that recipe in our recent post on Keto Almond Flour Tortillas.
Make a large batch of Keto Almond Flour Tortillas and have them handy (they freeze well). Cut the 5 inch tortilla into quarters, and then fry in oil for just a few seconds, turning once. This will result in perfect tortilla chips. A little salt when removing from the oil is the finishing touch. Then cool the chips on a cooling rack. They are delicious! They will layer well in your nacho plate and hold all of your toppings with ease.
One of the final steps to perfect “Carnitas” is a quick broil of the pulled pork with just a drizzle of the cooking liquid before assembly. This will slightly crisp up the meat and add delicious flavor.
Keto Pork Carnitas Nachos – The Perfect Snack Meal
Go ahead and top them how you like! We like layers of chips, “Carnitas,” tomatoes, jalapeño rounds, black olives, and tons of melted cheese. We garnish with cilantro leaves, crumbled Queso Fresco, and freshly chopped avocado (or guacamole). If you like guacamole, try our Keto recipe. You will have the perfect snack meal or delicious appetizer!
- In a small bowl combine the garlic powder, cumin, oregano, sea salt, and chili powder. Rub the seasonings on both sides of the pork butt.
- Sear the pork butt over medium heat in a dutch oven on both sides until browned on the outside. Approximately 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl mix the chopped chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, orange juice, and lime juice. Place the seared pork butt in a slow cooker and drizzle the top with the mixture. Cook over slow heat for 6-8 hours (4 hours on high).
- Once the pork is done, use two forks to shred the meat. Place the meat on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle with liquid from slow cooker. Broil in the oven for 2-3 minutes to crisp up the meat.
- Use Tasty Low Carb Almond Flour Tortillas to make chips. Simply quarter the tortillas and fry for 10 seconds in olive oil (turning once) – cool on a cooling rack.
- Assemble on an oven safe plate by layering the chips, pork carnitas, chopped onions, tomatoes, jalapeños, black olives and cheese. Broil in the oven for 2-3 minutes until cheese melts. Top with avocado and chopped cilantro and serve hot.