Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
There are certain important, iconic historic events that when they happen, you’ll always remember exactly where you were.
I was very young both times around, but I remember where I was when President Bill Clinton was elected. Both times in 1992, and in 1996: my grandparent’s living room, watching TV with my grandpa.
Strangely enough, I remember where I was the day that O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the murder of his wife: again, my grandparents living room watching the verdict unfold on Geraldo Rivera.
I remember where I was on December 31st/January 1st, 1999 when everyone was holding their breath, thinking the world was going to end in the year 2000. I was at my other grandmother’s house in Detroit with my Dad and sisters and we all were laughing about it.
I remember where I was on September 11th, 2001; my 7th grade English class. My teacher had left in the middle of class for a few minutes, then come back into the room and without saying a word to us, just turned on the TV and switched to CNN. I still remember that first image I saw of the smoke billowing out from the World Trade Center, and not fully realizing what it was I was really seeing.
I remember where I was when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005; I was visiting my Aunt in Atlanta and was horrified at the images and video footage the news was reporting, not just from the hurricane itself, but also from the aftermath. The first few weeks when I got back to high school, several of the student organizations I was apart of were collecting food, toiletries and clothe donations to send down there to help out.
I remember where I was when President Barack Obama was first elected; in 2008 me and Jas were in our dorm room, watching the election results on our tv through tears of joy and near disbelief. To date, that night is one of the best nights I’ve ever had in my life. (I remember where I was the night of his re-election in 2012 too, but that night in 2008 will always and forever be particularly special to me)
I remember where I was when I found out that Michael Jackson died in 2009. I was in the kitchen cooking and my Mom came in and told me that the story was trending on the internet. I refused to believe it for a really long time. When it finally was confirmed as true, I felt an unexpected sadness and depression that lingered with me for a few days.
Right up there with all those super duper important, iconic historical events I’ve lived to see, I’m gonna go ahead and add another to that list.
I’ll always remember where I was the day that I first made pork carnitas. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon. I was in the kitchen, while my mom and sister Ashley were watching the tv show The Blacklist in the living room.
Yep. This recipe is that important and life-changing to me.
You have to understand, I’ve never done this before. I didn’t even really know what I was doing, I just knew that carnitas was something I’d always wanted to make for myself.
So when my grocery store finally put their pork butt (shoulder)on sale, I just went out and bought one of those bad boys, along with some basic ingredients that I knew were traditionally used in making carnitas.
The first good sign was the smell coming out of my slow cooker when I woke up on Sunday morning after letting the shoulder do it’s thing overnight. It was friggin glorious, people. I went in the kitchen and pressed my face up against the glass lid like a kid looking through the glass of a candy store, trying to see what ind of magic was going on in that crockpot that smelled so delicious. The steam and heat had created too many bubbles for me to see unfortunately, so I had to exercise an INCREDIBLE amount of self-restraint from yanking off the lid and let it keep cooking for another few hours. I wasn’t taking any chances. I wanted to make sure I had that type of pork that’s been cooked to low and slow perfection. It needed to practically melt off the bone with little to no force or resistance.
Kinda like the way I get after watching “The Avengers” and seeing Chris Hemsworth’s arms and Chris Evans work a punching bag.
Good things come to those who wait. I found that out when I finally couldn’t take it anymore and lifted my crockpot lid. The steam from the pork hit me in the face. It was like, the best kiss I ever had
Okay, maybe not the best kiss I ever had. But pretty darn close. I wanted to break out in Snoopy dances when I took a fork and pierced the meat. I didn’t even have to pull, guys. I just touched it. And it FELL off the bone. Fell, I tell you. If I thought it couldn’t get any better, I was wrong. Because a few minutes underneath the broiler elevates these carnitas from mere mortal (albeit delicious) viddles, to the Food of the Gods.
Moist, fork-tender pork that literally melts in your mouth. A hint of crusty caramelization. This is living.
Something this simple to make really shouldn’t taste this good. It just shouldn’t. It almost feels like I’m cheating. Life’s not a fairy tale like that, am I right?!
So why did this dish turn out SO GOOOOOOOOD?!
I’m going to the Fiesta Friday #43, hosted by Angie@TheNoviceGardener and co-hosted this week by Tracy @Scratch It and Stephanie @The Cozy Cook. I’ll also be bringing these carnitas. See you there…
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
Recipe by Jessica@Cooking Is My Sport
- 4-6 lbs. pork shoulder, slightly trimmed of excess fat
- 1 tbsp. garlic salt
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. Cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp. sweet paprika
- 2 oranges, sliced in half
- 1 lime, sliced in half
1. Combine garlic salt, chili powder, dried oregano, dried basil, cumin, ground coriander, brown sugar, and sweet paprika.
2. Rub the spice mixture evenly over the pork. Place pork in the bottom of a slow cooker (minimum of 6 quarts)*
3. Squeeze the juice from the oranges and limes over the pork. Place rinds pulp side down in slow cooker over the meat.
4. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours, or until pork is tender and falling off the bone. Use a fork to pull away from bone and discard it.
5. Preheat oven broiler. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and arrange pork in a single layer. Place underneath broiler until tips of pork are browned and slightly crisp, about 3-5 minutes. (Don’t walk away from it. Keep an eye on meat to make sure it doesn’t burn or become overly browned).
6. Serve finished pork in corn/flour tortillas, or over rice.
*I had to use 2 slow cookers too cook a 6lb. pork shoulder that I ended up cutting in half, so keep that in mind when buying your meat.
40 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas”
As far as I’m concerned the pork butt/shoulder is the finest cut of meat of all. Hands down. Carnitas are just the bomb and I even love crisping them up later and nearly burning the edges. I am always looking for a new recipe that uses shoulder and now I’ve got one! Thanks !!!
Thank you Sue-pork butt really is such a great cut of the meat. Besides ham, I think it’s my favorite too 🙂
Pork carnitas perfection, Jess! The aroma permeating from the slow cooker all day must have been intoxicating…looks delish!
Oh it WAS Nancy, thank you!
Girl, you’ve just won my heart with these. And totally like Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans have my heart in Avengers 😉 Now I’ve got pork butt on the brain and must go buy some to make these carnitas!!
Thank you Tracy 😀
That pork looks tender and moist and delicious. Jess, it’s perfect. I would like some right now.
Awww Suzanne, thank you! I’d definitely send you some if I could 😉
Wow, Jess, my mouth is watering just reading your description. I can totally understand why that day was so memorable for you, just from the way you describe it!
Thank you Alice!
These look so perfect, Jess! I love all the spices you used, as well as the orange and lime and brown sugar. Can’t wait to try your recipe!
Thanks Shari, the spices were simple but they really let the pork speak for itself. It came out really nice 🙂
I remember those days, too! Well, except for the pork carnitas day. Wish I was there! 😀 But I’ll remember FF43 when you brought it to us. I’m on my iMac in my den and I just had Smashburger but I can’t take my eyes off the carnitas!
Thanks Angie 😀
This looks so yummy!
Thank you, it really is 🙂
I love reading your posts Jess. And then there is the bonus of a brilliant recipe too. I love slow cooking and you carnitas look and sound amazing, especially the crispy bits from popping the meat under the grill!!!
Thank you Selma- this is a real easy recipe but the taste makes it seem like there was a lot of lbor involved lol
Dear Lord… OMG… I want, scratch that… NEED to make these… and soon!!!! They look fantastic!!
Why thank you 😉
You’re very welcome! 😉
Your emotions at this momentous occasion are contagious. I too will have to find a suitable piece of meat to make this with.
Thank you Hilda, I hope you can try it out, I think you’ll really like it!
What a thought provoking post! So often we are doing mundane things (like living!) when significant news breaks. I just love love love slow cooked pulled pork. This looks so delicious. Thanks for sharing
Thanks Veronica- it’s funny how your brain can save little snap shots of important events in life. And I wasn’t lying when I say, I’ll literally always remember first cooking these carnitas 🙂
Wow wow wow, another fantastic looking meal!
Thank you Lily!
What’s wonderful post !!
Meant wonderful !!
Thank you, I appreciate it!
Great post! Going to save this recipe. I am always looking for good slow cooker recipes. This one is a keeper! 🙂
This is one of the best slow cooker recipes I’ve ever cooked with (and I’m not just saying that because it’s on my blog lol) I think you’ll really like how it turns out- Thank you!
It looks mouth watering! Yum and great pictures! 🙂
Thank you so much 🙂
yum. all i need now is margarita!
Perfect combination- thanks 😉
Great post. And that pork… Wow!
Thank you Michelle- I’m proud of how this came out 🙂