Easy Slow Cooker Carnitas
I looooove me some Carnitas, and today we’re making it in the crockpot! This easy carnitas recipe is big on flavor and low of effort. Slow cooker carnitas is a fabulous base recipe for tacos, salads, enchiladas… I could go on forever.
What is it about Mexican cuisine that makes us ravenously woozy with anticipation?
I can’t quite put a finger on it, but I can tell you, tender shreds of spicy pork served with cheese, veggies, and warm tortillas always sounds good to me.
We make carnitas as a base recipe for all sorts of Mexican creations.
Seriously… you can use a good carnitas recipe in anything from chili, to quesadillas, to nachos, even on pizza. I’ll stop now before I pass out from the thought of a hot carnitas pizza covered in cheese.
Traditional carnitas is made in a dutch oven, but I like to prepare slow cooker carnitas, so I can start it in the morning and not think about it again until dinner time.
This is so easy guys.
You simply dump all the ingredients for the carnitas recipe in the slow cooker, set it, and walk away. With sweet and tangy orange juice, aromatic spices, and a little bit of liquid smoke cuddling up to the pork for hours, how could this not be divine?
Once you’ve cooked the tar out of the carnitas (in the words of my dad) the pork is so tender, it nearly falls apart when you shred it with a fork.
Then either serve it as-is, or crisp-ify it under the broiler.
Personally, I’m crazy over the little crispy bits.
This simple slow cooker carnitas recipe is a must-have in your arsenal of recipes.
We use it most often in “street tacos” with onions, cilantro, and fresh warm puffy tortillas.
Yield: 10-12 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4-8 hours
Slow Cooker Carnitas
- 4 lbs. pork butt roast
- 2 Tb. bacon grease
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 5-6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 tsp. liquid smoke
- 1 Tb. sea salt
- 1 Tb. cumin
- 2 Tb. ancho chile powder
- 1 tsp. ground black pepper
- Smear the bacon grease on the bottom of the slow cooker. Cut the pork into large chunks and place inside the slow cooker. Then add all remaining ingredients around the pork.
- Turn the slow cooker on: Low for 8-10 hours, or High for 4-6 hours. Once the pork is fork-tender, use 2 forks to shred the meat into the juices. If you like your carnitas crispy on the edges (like it's served in restaurants) use a slotted spoon to scoop the meat out of the juices and spread in a thin layer on a baking sheet(s). Place on the upper oven rack and broil for 2-5 minutes, until darker crispy edges form. Do not take your eyes off the broiler--you can burn the carnitas quickly.
- Serve over rice, taco, or on top of salads!
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