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Crock Pot Carnitas

I adore food from a variety of ethnicities.  I’d say that Mexican and South American cuisine is my favorite, but that discounts Italian and Indian and Moroccan and more.  But it still ranks up there.  When I go to a good taqueria – and there are fortunately plenty near me – my favorite thing to order is carnitas in one form or another.

The meat is always so tasty and tender and flavorful.  It’s never dry, and it’s never chewy.  And I can’t get it anywhere else.  You can get ground beef or chicken or steak in so many other cuisines, but carnitas?  That’s just special.

Finally, I decided that I just needed to make this at home because obviously I’m not eating it often enough.  With my schedule lately, I didn’t have the time to babysit it.  I wanted to make it in the crockpot so the majority of the work would be done without my paying attention to it and I could just finish it up later.

I think I succeeded.

Carnitas burritos sliced on a plate

The carnitas I made went over really well.  I bought some to my mom’s, and I came home with empty containers.  She enjoyed hers over rice.  My dad had burritos with cheese only, as did Mister Man.  Little Miss enjoyed hers with both tomatoes and sliced avocado, while my husband and I went for the works.  I set it up like a taco bar, and my carnitas bar was a huge hit.

Set up a carnitas bar so everyone can enjoy with toppings they choose

This is definitely something I’ll be making again soon, probably not just for a family dinner but for a party I host as it’s  so versatile and yummy, but it’s still easy to make and can be done ahead of time.  And when I finally get around to making tamales at home?  This will be a perfect filling.

Crock Pot Carnitas

Ingredients:
2 lb pork – I used a loin because I had it, but this is perfect for a pork shoulder
2 T olive oil
1 T cumin
1 t paprika
1 t oregano
1 onion
6 cloves garlic
1 orange
1/2 c stock
1/4 c lard or shortening

Directions:
Trim your pork as needed to remove the big pieces of fat.  The rest will mostly melt away and you want some for flavor.  Place the olive oil, cumin, oregano, and paprika in the bottom of your crock pot.  Add the pork and roll it in the mixture until it’s nicely coated in the spices on all sides.

Pork rubbed with spices

Chop your onion and mince your garlic, then add to the top of your pork.  Add the stock, then cut your orange in half.  Squeeze the orange into the crock pot for the juice, then go ahead and toss the halves into the crock pot, as well.

Squeezing orange juice into crock pot for carnitas

Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.  When it’s done, the meat will be already almost falling apart in the crock pot, and the oranges will look cooked.  Fish out the orange halves and toss them.

Crock pot carnitas ready to shred

Using tongs or forks, shred the pork right in your crock pot.  Don’t worry about getting it perfect. You just want it most of the way shredded.

Using tongs to shred pork

In a heavy pan, melt your fat and add the pork in batches, frying until crispy and browned.  You’ll want to stir it occasionally to ensure all the edges get a little browned.

Starting to brown pork to make the carnitas

Serve immediately over rice, in burritos, in tamales, and more.

Crock Pot Carnitas

This crock pot carnitas is easy to make and perfect for any taco or burrito you want to make. Liven up your Taco Tuesday this week!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: main dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Diet: Gluten Free
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 460kcal
Author: Michelle

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds pork shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup stock
  • 1/4 cup lard or shortening

Instructions

  • Trim your pork as needed to remove the big pieces of fat. The rest will mostly melt away and you want some for flavor. Place the olive oil, cumin, oregano, and paprika in the bottom of your crock pot. Add the pork and roll it in the mixture until it's nicely coated in the spices on all sides.
    2 pounds pork shoulder, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Chop your onion and mince your garlic, then add to the top of your pork. Add the stock, then cut your orange in half. Squeeze the orange into the crock pot for the juice, then go ahead and toss the halves into the crock pot, as well.
    1 onion, 6 cloves garlic, 1/2 cup stock, 1 orange
  • Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. When it's done, the meat will be already almost falling apart in the crock pot, and the oranges will look cooked. Fish out the orange halves.
  • Using tongs or forks, shred the pork right in your crock pot. Don't worry about getting it perfect. You just want it most of the way shredded.
  • In a heavy pan, melt your fat and add the pork in batches, frying until crispy and browned. You'll want to stir it occasionally to ensure all the edges get a little browned.
  • Serve immediately over rice, in burritos, in tamales, and more.

Notes

  • Although I fried the pork at the end, this would also work to broil it on a baking sheet with some of the liquid. You would just need to turn it after a couple of minutes and broil it in total for around 5 minutes. Next time around, I'm going this route to save time.
  • For more tips and tricks, be sure to read the full article above.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 460kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 101mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g

This site uses an online source to provide nutrition estimates as a courtesy. If you need exact values, please calculate yourself.

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  1. […] used to make carnitas in my crock pot, and that tastes great, too. My challenge is the time because I inevitably forget to start dinner […]

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