Crazy Good Slow Cooker Carnitas

September 29, 2011

In the spirit of Hispanic Heritage month, I am posting a delicious recipe for carnitas.  Pork shoulder (aka butt) is slowly cooked in citrus juice and spices until it falls apart into tender strands of meat.  This version is made easier with the aid of the slow cooker.  You can place all the ingredients in a pot and forget about it.  Eat carnitas in tacos, burritos, or plain with a side of rice and beans.

Slow-Cooked Carnitas
Recipe from Bella Eats
serves 8 (about 32 small tacos)


• (1) 6 pound bone-in pork butt (also called pork shoulder)
• 2 tbsp coarse salt
• 1 tbsp cumin
• 1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
• 1 tbsp dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
• 2 tsp ground cinnamon
• 3 bay leaves
• 1 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
• 8 whole cloves garlic, smashed
• 4 chipotle peppers (canned, in adobo sauce)
• 1 can diced tomatoes
• 1 cup orange juice


1. Trim the excess fat from the meat and discard. Place all ingredients in your slow-cooker and set to LOW. Cook for 8 hours. Meat is done when it literally falls off of the bone. When it is cool enough to handle, lift the meat from the juices and place on a large platter or cutting board. Remove the bone and shred the meat to bite-size pieces.

2. Skim the fat from the juices and keep as a medium for re-heating the meat. To reheat, place carnitas in a baking dish and pour juices over top. Cover with foil and re-heat in oven. The juices are also really delicious as a sauce over the carnitas. It will be spicier than the meat itself, so be careful to taste-test.

3. For tacos, serve with small corn tortillas, sour cream, lime, avocado, fresh salsa, and queso fresco.

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