Crock Pot Pork Carnitas




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I love Pork Carnitas and as a busy mom to a new baby, cooking it in a crock pot is perfect because it's super easy and I get tons of leftovers to make into other things like tacos, quesadillas, and tamales... but let's face it, it's so darn yummy that I just eat it straight most of the time! Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Step 1: Round Up Your Ingredients

  • 2-3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (aka boston butt)
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1.5 tsp Cumin
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 10 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 medium Orange (or about 1/3 cup of orange juice)
  • Onion (optional)

(Note: I have coconut oil in the picture, but I didn't actually use it... ooops!)

Step 2: Juice Orange

If you are using onions, then cut it into quarters and place it in your crock pot. Then, place the pork on top of the onions.

If you're not using onions, then place the pork directly in the crock pot.

If you don't have a fancy citrus press or a citrus reamer, then do what I did to juice the orange over the pork:

  1. Cut the orange in half.
  2. Stick a fork in the middle of an orange half as a makeshift reamer.
  3. Squeeze the orange shell in half while moving the fork around to break up the orange pulp.

It's okay to get some pulpy bits on your pork, but you will want to remove any seeds that fall in.

Step 3: Insert Garlic

I have to admit that I love garlic, so I use a lot! If you have some really large garlic cloves, then you can cut it in half like I did. Then using a paring knife, cut slits into each side of the pork and insert the garlic into the slits.

Step 4: Flavor the Meat

Mix the spices together in a small dish and sprinkle it evenly onto the pork. You can also pat the spices into the pork gently.

Step 5: Cook and Enjoy!

Set the crock pot to low and cook for 6-8 hours. Go to work, run some errands, hit the gym, and come home to the delicious aroma of perfectly cooked carnitas! Use two forks to shred it up and it's ready to be paired with some beans and yellow rice, stuffed into purple corn tacos, or anything!

Note: If you want it crispier, you can put the shredded pork on a cookie sheet and broil for 3-5 minutes. I never get to this step because it smells so good, I have to dig in! ;-)

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    16 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Great pictures - makes me hungry and I ate not too long ago! I make a similar recipe, only diff is that i don't use orange but lime. Just cut it into eighths and chuck em in the pot. I guess pretty much any citrus works to help tenderize the meat. I also put in a few sprigs of cilantro because i am sort of addicted to it.


    3 years ago on Step 5

    this looks great, I always add a can or 2 of green chiles to mine.


    3 years ago on Step 5

    I make something very similar. My ingredient list is:

    2-4# pork shoulder

    1 can orange juice concentrate

    1 bottle Coke (use the Mexican Coke, with real sugar, in glass bottles. I find it at my local grocer in small-town MN).

    1 red onion (julienned, or sliced thin)

    Salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, chipotle powder, chili powder, etc.- to taste, I never measure any of it.

    Chuck everything in the crock pot and let it go for 6-10 hours. Shred it up (I use salad serving claws) (leave the onions with it if you like, I usually do) and broil it for 5 minutes. Drizzle some of the juice over it and broil again for another 5. Serve with tortillas, and whatever condiments you like. I like salsa, white cheese, shredded cabbage, avocado, limes, cilantro, salsa Lizano, with rice and black beans on the side.

    Anyway, try it with the Coke sometime, and feel free to use a whole can of OJ concentrate. It doesn't taste like Coke and oranges, all the sugars just carmelize and get stay very tasty.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Great! Thanks for sharing, just a question (sorry I'm not american) when you said crock pot are you refering to the electric thing? (is it a trademark?).

    Thanks again

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Yes ramiroquai10 it is a electric slow cooker that is in many American households. I hope the author dose not mind me answering this post. I make this recipe a lot but I do it a bit differently that she does. I cut off the fat, sear the meat in a pan with a bit of oil till it is brown on all sides. Then slice the onion into slivers and take a jar of salsa verda or green salsa and pour it over the meat and cook it in that instead of broth. When I get home from work take off any remaining fat, and put chopped cilantro in and stir for 15 minutes more. Serve on hot corn tortilias.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I wouldn't advise it... You need time to let all the connective tissue break down and get all delicious. Pressure cooker is about getting wet foods hotter with increased pressure, which you don't want here since it will dry out the meat too much.

    I would have to disagree- a pressure cooker would work well here- the higher temps tend to be drying but the increase in pressure also works to inhibit drying. This is in essence a pork "pot roast" - you can find a ton of recipes for pot roast and pulled pork and carnitas on google. Happy cooking!


    3 years ago

    the other way is skip the tomatoes and just add the stock, its good also


    4 years ago on Step 5

    Wait! What about the beans and rice I see in the picture? Spanish Rice recipes can vary a lot at Mexican restaurants. Sometimes I go to a place and the Spanish Rice is SO delicious! And other places it's mediocre to say the least. Do you have a really good Spanish Rice recipe? And the refried beans...are they home made, or from a can? Home made everything is always best.

    I like your simple recipe though. My wife just bought a new crock now I am inspired to try your recipe. Looks GOOD! Yummy!

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    for a good mexican style rice you need long grain rice, soak it in hot water for 20 mins, then wash it until the water runs clear, then, and this is the most important step, fry it with plenty oil until it turns light brown, after here you can go two ways, puree two small tomatoes, a bit of onion, garlic and cilantro and add it to the rice along with two cups of chicken stock or water, bring to a boil and then lower the heat all the way and let it cook untouche until it dries out but does not stick. it should be tender, not mushy, experiment a bit, thats the key


    4 years ago on Step 5

    I love slow cooker ideas, thanks.

    But why purple corn taco's? I'll admit I've not tried them, but they look like under carpet foam.


    4 years ago on Step 5

    mmmmmmmmmmm..........looks good!!!!! have you ever used some green chili's in it?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I like this recipe, could you tell me what you're serving it with please?


    my wife doesn't like things too spicy, so this might be perfect, we'll try this soon!