Slow Cooker Carnitas


Of the many things I miss about living in Los Angeles, my home of 15 years, Mexican food is near the top of the list. In a 1-mile radius from our LA house, there were probably at least 30 Mexican eateries, food trucks, and street vendors. Here in Honolulu, despite what some people may claim, there is frankly no good, authentic Mexican food. So I’ve been seeking out recipes of our favorites, like carnitas.

Pork carnitas is a tender, flavorful pork that is traditionally braised or simmered for a long period. This super simple version is cooked in a slow cooker, resulting in a juicy, flavorful pork that is then shredded. The meat can then be used in tacos, burritos, or tamales. We served ours taco-truck-style, over warm corn tortillas and topped with cilantro, diced onion, lime wedges, and a side of refried beans. They were delicious, and satisfied my Mexican food craving (at least for the moment).

Slow Cooker Carnitas

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4 pounds pork shoulder
Salt and pepper
4 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime, cut in half

Place pork in slow cooker, and salt and pepper the meat liberally. In a small bowl, mix the oregano, cumin, and olive oil, and rub mixture all over pork. Squeeze juice from the lime halves. Add the onion, garlic, and lime halves. Cover, and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 4 hours.

Once the meat is tender, remove from the slow cooker and let cool slightly before pulling apart with a fork. Preheat oven to broil. Place carnitas on a foil-lined pan, and broil until crisp and crusted, about 4-5 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 8-10 people.

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