Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Trying to think of the perfect meal to cook your dad for Father’s Day? Then maybe you should try what we made our mom’s for Mother’s Day this year! :p We made some pretty delicious slow cooker pork carnitas that lasted us for several weeks after the main event! It was simple and easy to make and jam packed full of flavor.

We wound up essentially doubling the recipe, which was great for leftovers but not so great for our estimated timing. Since we hadn’t done the best at estimating how long the larger pork shoulder would need to remain in the crockpot, we wound up cooking it for an additional hour or so in the crockpot before throwing it in the oven (still in the crockpot pot with a tinfoil ten over it) at about 400 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour or so. The oven method was kind of a nice discovery, however, since it helped crisp up the tips of the meat.

To save some time the day of, we made the pickled onions the night before, which let me tell you I am so glad we did. It took longer than I expected since I mandolined two red onions and my goodness did my eyes water and burn. The onions were, to me at least, surprisingly yummy and would be a good topping for a variety of other dishes.

For the roast itself, you add all of the ingredients to the crockpot and toss the meat to coat it and just let it go for over five (5) hours before doing the oven trick if you’re either short on time or want to crisp up the edges of the meat some before shredding. Once the pork has finished cooking, transfer it to a large bowl and discard the bay leaves. Allow the pork to cool enough to handle it so you can shred it. Unlike the Food Network Kitchen recipe, we did not discard the onion, garlic (we used minced), or anything it calls for (other than the bay leaves) because we wanted that extra flavor. Once the meat is shredded, heat a skilled on medium-high heat with some butter (the recipe calls for lard, but we used butter) and brown the meat briefly to add even more crisp. Part of the key is to press down on the meat with a spatula to help it connect to the bottom of the hot pan.

Next heat the tortillas briefly in the preheated pan – about 20 seconds per side. Heating the tortillas in the pan is key to helping them stay together. If you just heat them in the microwave, they are more likely to fall apart. Now it’s time to eat! Don’t forget your cilantro like we did since it can really add an extra punch! We also added some sauces, such as a green tamale, jalapeño hot sauce, tabasco, etc. I liked it just fine without the added sauces, but feel free to experiment and have fun with it! Isn’t that the point of taco night?

Happy cooking!



2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Juice of 2 oranges

Juice of 2 limes

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Small pinch ground cloves

Kosher salt

1 medium white onion, quartered

6 cloves garlic, peeled

2 bay leaves

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, fat trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup lard

Soft corn tortillas, for serving

Cilantro leaves, for serving

Sliced jalapenos, for serving

Pickled red onions, recipe follows

Pickled Red Onions

2 small red onions, thinly sliced

3/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup orange juice

3 tablespoons lime juice

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

Kosher salt


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