carnitas with plantains

Carnitas With Jicama Salsa

There are several reasons why you should visit your neighborhood Mexican grocery store. The top reason is so you can buy jicama to make carnitas with jicama salsa. Legend has it that the original salsa was eaten with jicama chips. Other reasons for visiting include fresh pineapples, more dried peppers than you can count and piñatas. Yes, piñatas. Because what party didn’t get better with a piñata stuffed full of goodies. If you’re embarrassed about hitting a piñata as an adult, drink a few mojitos and then pretend the piñata is the meanest teacher you had in school.

Carnitas is one of my favorite meat dishes. When you pair it with some fried ripe plantains, guacamole and jicama salsa…well, I’ll let you be the judge. Carnitas with jicama salsa is definitely a dish I will be making again soon!

carnitas with jicama salsa

The jicama salsa is really easy to make with a short list of ingredients: chopped jicama, bell pepper, red onion, honey, salt, lime juice and cilantro. It adds a wonderful sweet tang to the carnitas. You could easily stuff it in a corn tortilla with some carnitas to make a wonderful taco.

jicama salsa

The secret to a good jicama salsa is to chop your veggies the right size. Jicama can be chopped about the size of the tip of your finger…not too small. The onions should be diced really small and bell pepper should also be pretty small. This allows the onion to take on the other flavors in the salsa and not overpower it.

jicama salsa from top

You could also serve this salsa as a side with chips. Try this…serve your guacamole with some thinly sliced radishes. It’s delicious and also keeps the carbs down if you are looking to do that.

Ripe plantains are hard to come by in traditional grocery stores in the U.S., but most good Mexican or Hispanic grocery stores will have some great ripe ones. They should be almost black on the outside. I realize, to most Americans, this makes them look overripe, but this is exactly how they should be if you want to peel them, slice them into thick pieces and cook them in olive oil to a sweet treat. Also, you will need to get your oil hot enough to cook these just right. Setting your stove on medium-medium high should do it. They should cook in about 3-4 minutes per side. You’ll know they are done when they have that dark crispy look like those in the picture above. They go perfectly with carnitas with jicama salsa!

carnitas with jicama salsa from top

PREP TIME: 30 minutes COOK TIME: 100 minutes SERVINGS: 12


For the pork rub:

  • 6-8 lb. pork butt, bone in
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp. chipotle pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste

For the sauce:

  • 12 oz. pineapple juice
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 diced jalapeno
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • juice of one lime

For the jicama salsa:

  • 1 medium jicama, peeled and chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped small
  • 1 red onion, diced small
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • juice of one lime
  • handful of chopped cilantro


  1. Trim the excess fat off the pork butt. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Place the pork butt in the Dutch oven and sear each side for about 3-4 minutes until slightly brown to lock in the flavor. Remove pork and place on cutting board to cool.
  2. Mix remaining rub ingredients together in a medium bowl. When the pork is cool enough to handle, coat all sides with the rub mixture and massage it in well.
  3. Place the pork in an Instant Pot (or crock pot). Cover pork with all sauce ingredients and set to cook on pressure for 90 minutes. If using a crock pot, cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8-10 hours. You should be able to pull pork apart with a fork when done. Reserve sauce in the Instant Pot for coating if desired. Serve with guacamole, fried plantains and thin sliced radishes.

Tip: Bone in pork butt will hold the fat and moisture better than a boneless pork butt so it will come out juicier!


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