I’m finally sharing my favorite recipe for the slow cooker today: Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas. I love these in tacos, rice bowls, salads, and nachos. They feed a huge crowd or can be frozen and crisped up later!
I have a love hate relationship with my slow cooker. On the one hand, it’s so easy to dump food into a large electric pot and walk away. On the other, then I eat that food and it tastes like that’s exactly the level of effort I put into it…
I’ve been trying for a while to come up with some great slow cooker recipes that were actually a joy to eat as well ( and TBH I’ve really enjoyed my Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa and my Company Worth Slow Cooker Beef Stew over the years ), but I was ready for something new for the blog.
It’s funny, because I make this recipe a lot. I have told friends about it, and it’s something we come back to again and again in my house because it makes a TON, is dirt cheap, super easy, but doesn’t taste like it was made in the slow cooker.
So it’s not really new. It’s just finally making its way here.
One of the best things about this slow cooker pork carnitas recipe is that it’s a recipe and a method. You don’t have to do the second part of throwing the shredded pork under the broiler, but it makes them a MILLION TIMES BETTER.
It also means you can freeze the shredded pork as soon as it cools off post-shredding, then you can eat it a month or two later after defrosting in the fridge overnight, and crisping under the broiler right before eating.
That’s right: you can have delicious carnitas tacos in literally 8 minutes. Just toast up these leftovers under the broiler while you heat up some tortillas, throw some fresh avocado, shredded lettuce, and a corn salsa on top of crispy hot-from-the-broiler carnitas on the warmed tortillas, and BAM:
Dinner. 8 minutes. You’re welcome.
- 5 lb bone-in Pork Shoulder, excess fat chunks removed
- 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
- 2 teaspoons Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Oregano
- ¼ teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon Salt
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 onion, quartered
- 2 cups low-sodium Chicken Broth
- ½ cup Orange Juice
- ¼ cup Lime Juice
- 3 cloves Garlic, minced
- Place the raw pork in the slow cooker. Stab the pork 8 or 9 times with a knife about ½ way through the meat.
- Rub the pork shoulder with the chili powder, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, and salt. Place the bay leaves on top of the meat, and toss the onion into the crock pot ( I usually place two of the quarters on top of the meat and two next to the meat in the pot ).
- Stir the mixed garlic into one of the juices, and then pour all of the juice combined with the garlic into the pot.
- Cover and cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8.
- After cooking, remove the bay leaves and the bone from the slow cooker pot and shred all of the remaining meat. This is a great point at which to let the meat cool and refrigerate or freeze it to have later.
- Immediately before serving the meat ( defrost in the fridge first, if you'd frozen it ), place the shredded meat in a thin layer on a jelly roll pan or other broiler-safe pan with sides. Broil on High for 5 to 7 minutes, or until edges of the shredded meat start to brown and crisp.