These Carnitas Sliders with Mexican Street Corn (esquites), caramelized onions, and cheese will be a hit at any party! All you’ll be left with is an empty tray and a bunch of happy people!
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Happy Tailgating Snacks Month!
As October nears to a close, and I look back on another fun and delicious tailgating snacks month, I hope you had as much fun with this month’s recipes as I did.
I got to share a couple of them at parties with friends. And, I got to play around in the kitchen with this new one!
This recipe is a little bit of work to prep, but so worth it! And, most of this can be done ahead of time.
My husband will make a big batch of carnitas in the slow cooker (crock pot).
He’ll often buy an inexpensive and large piece of pork, making this a really budget-friendly recipe to make.
How to make the Carnitas Sliders
Can the carnitas be made in the pressure cooker?
He’s also started experimenting with the pressure cooker for the pork, and it seems to be working well. I think the pressure cooker is a great tool for cooking large cuts of meat.
For an electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot), you’ll want to cook it at least 1 ½ hours on high, then let the pressure release naturally. Check for desired doneness.
Let’s talk about crisping the carnitas up
The more spread out they are on the tray under the broiler, the faster they will crisp up, and the more tasty crispy browned bits you’ll get.
The carnitas recipe makes way more than you’ll need for the sliders, so these sliders are a great way to use the carnitas in a different way, other than just tacos!
Carnitas also freeze well. Since Dan’s the only one in the house eating the pork, he takes about ¾ of the cooked pork (before crisping it in the broiler), divides them into smaller bathes, places them in Tupperware containers, and pops them into the freezer.
Then, once he’s ready to eat them, simply take them out of the freezer and into the fridge to defrost.
Mexican Street Corn (Esquites)
We first came up with these sliders by wanting to make a Mexican fusion street corn slider recipe using my Mexican Street Corn recipe.
If you want to read more about esquites, including my tips and tricks for the recipe, hop over and take a look here.
We tried to make a vegetarian slider, but in the end, I’m really happy with going with a meaty recipe for these sliders.
With some of the leftovers, I tried making a vegetarian slider using soy crumbles instead of carnitas. But, somehow, it just seemed like it was missing something. And, it was super messy to eat.
Kitchen items you may need for this recipe:
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Carnitas Sliders Recipe
- 8 pounds bone in pork shoulder also called pork picnic shoulder
- Juice from 4 oranges
- 2 yellow onions chopped
- 1 jalapeno deseeded, chopped
- 8 cloves garlic pressed
Mexican Street Corn:
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 small onion sliced
- 9 dinner rolls sliced in half separating the top and bottom. (If they are attached to each other, you don't need to separate each roll).
- 1 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
Make the carnitas:
- In a small bowl, combine all rub ingredients: 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper,
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano, 2 tablespoons ground cumin, and 2 tablespoons olive oil.
- Rinse the pork with clean cold tap water, and pat dry with paper towels.
- Rub the rub spice mixture all over the pork, and place the spice rubbed pork, fat side up, in the slow cooker.
- Turn the crock-pot on high, and start chopping and adding the veggies as you chop them. Add the orange juice, chopped onion, jalapeno, and garlic. Place the lid on the slow cooker once all the ingredients have been added.
- Slow Cook on high for about 8 hours. Start checking it after 5 hours. Check for doneness by pulling on the bone with a pair of tongs, when it’s done the bone will easily slide out.
- Remove the cooked pork from the slow cooker, allow to cool slightly, and shred using two forks. The juices remaining in the slow cooker can be discarded.
- You’ll need about 3 cups of the cooked carnitas for the sliders. The final step in making the carnitas will be to crisp them up under the broiler. Those instructions are later on the recipe card, so they will be nice and hot and crispy in the sliders.
Make Mexican Street Corn:
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn and let cook until the corn starts to char, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the corn cooks, mix the dressing together in a large bowl: mayonnaise, sour cream, Cotija cheese, cilantro, lime juice, red onion, garlic, and chili powder.
- When the corn is done cooking, fold it into the dressing. Set Mexican Street Corn aside while preparing the rest of the sliders.
Caramelize the onion:
- Wipe out the skillet from any cooked bits from making the corn, and heat 1 teaspoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the sliced onion, and cook, stirring often. Allow onion to brown, adding a little water to the skillet if the onion starts to cook too quickly. Once the onion is nicely browned and caramelized, remove it from the skillet.
Make the spiced butter:
- Soften the 5 tablespoons butter in a microwave for about 20-30 seconds. Mix in 1 teaspoon dried minced onion, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and ½ teaspoon ground cumin. Set aside.
- Crisp up the carnitas:
- Place about 3 cups of carnitas in a single layer spreading it out as much as you can, on a foil lined rimmed tray, and place under a medium heat (about 450° F) broiler for 4-7 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on them while they broil, as they can go from crispy to burned in a moment. You want browned crispy looking edges.
Assemble the sliders:
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Place the bottom of the cut rolls in a disposable aluminum pan. Brush the inside of the rolls with about 2 tablespoons of the spiced butter.
- Spread about 3 cups of the crisp carnitas over the rolls. Top with Mexican Street Corn. Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded pepperjack cheese over the top of the Corn.
- Spread the caramelized onion over the top of the cheese, and top with the bread halves.
- Smear the remaining spiced butter over the top of the rolls. Bake in 350° F oven for about 10 minutes, or until butter has melted in, tops are browned, and cheese is bubbling.
- Serve warm.
You can add more carnitas to make heartier sandwiches if desired.