This has been on my list forever. FOREVER.
Or, like, a year or two. That sounds more accurate. Either way, I wanted to do it, didn’t do it, kept wanting to do it, finally did it. (Kinda like with my easiest slow cooker pulled pork)
AND IT’S SO GOOD. It isn’t like I haven’t had carnitas before and this is my first time ever experiencing this. I’ve had them many-a-times at Mexican restaurants and every time I say ‘I’m going to make this at home.’
And then I think about it for a little while, realize I’d have to make a shiz ton of pork and eat it for a whole week and then go ‘meh… another day’
Well that day is today. And it is a goooood day my friends. Except I paid twice what I actually should have for my pork shoulder ’cause it was convenient to get it where I already was at the time… and to be fair I got a really high quality one, but it was from the grocery store, not the market where an equal quality one woulda been cheaper. So it goes.
I’d honestly happily pay twice the price again if I had to. These are my new favorite thing probably ever. I say that a lot, and it’s mostly because I’m fickle AF, but right at this very second, this is my favorite. I like my meats crispy, juicy, tender, sweet and salty and sometimes with a little heat. Everything these easy slow cooker pork carnitas are, my friends. Everything. And it’s making me hate these cold and depressing winter days just a little less.
It’s also hella easy and still cheap, even when you pay extra. AAANNNNDDD you have leftovers for days which is a good thing if you love leftovers. Not so good if you don’t want to eat the same thing everyday for like, 5 days (my reason for not making it before EVEN THOUGH I’ll eat the same damn breakfast almost everyday for like 3 months. I make so much sense.)
What if I told ya I had a little mini series comin’ atcha to solve your leftover meat for days problem? Like, different ways you can eat the same thing but still feel like you’re changin’ it up? Because I hear you and I feel you- you that hates leftovers. And I gotchu.
By the way, I make no claims of authenticity here. I bopped around on the interwebs, as we millennials do, found a bunch of different versions of carnitas, customized MY carnitas to what I had on hand and what I felt my taste buds would prefer, and I went with it.
Go with whatcha got, improvise, change things to your own preferences and roll with it. Story of my cooking life.
- 1 3.5 lb pork shoulder roast, trimmed of excess fat, bone-in. *see note
- 2.5 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1¾ tsp salt
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp chipotle chili flakes OR ¼-1/2 tsp ground chipotle powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- ½ cup orange juice
- juice of 1 lime
- a few shakes of liquid smoke
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- Combine all spices, salt and 2 tbsp olive oil. Rub evenly all over pork shoulder.
- Heat a large heavy bottomed skillet (I used cast iron) over high heat with remaining ½ tbsp oil. Once the oil just starts to smoke (not burn!), add the roast and let it sear for 3 minutes or until a nice golden crust forms on the bottom. Don't move the roast around while it sears. Trust it.
- Flip the roast and sear for an additional 3 minutes. If the heat is too high, turn it down.
- Add pork to your slow cooker and cover with onion, garlic, orange juice, brown sugar, smoke and lime juice. Make sure the onion and garlic are in the liquid, not sitting on top of the roast.
- Cook on high for 4.5 hours or low for 6-7 or until meat is fall apart tender.
- Remove the meat to a cutting board, pull out the bone and shred with 2 forks and remove any large chunks of fat remaining.
- Preheat oven to 450F
- Line a baking sheet with foil and place shredded meat on the tray. Skim the fat off of the juices in the slow cooker and pour the remaining liquid evenly over the meat. Place in the oven and bake for 5-7 mins then broil on high for 2-3 minutes. Watch carefully that it doesn't burn.
- Serve hot with rice, beans, tostadas, tortillas, etc. GO WILD