The Best Slow Cooker Carnitas
For the best pork carnitas brown them in a skillet in their own juices, make a carnitas taco. Also, browning the Pork Carnitas is what makes them absolutely delicious. Therefore, be sure not to skip the browning of the Pork Carnitas! Furthermore, this is the key to make the best Pork Carnitas you will have. Traditionally, the best Pork Carnitas are made by marinating pork meat in fresh orange juice then deep-fried in lard. I'd say, not so healthy.
These pork carnitas are just as good as the traditional pork carnitas I grew up eating. If you think you’ve had awesome carnitas before, but haven’t tried browning them in a skillet, this will change how you will cook carnitas going forward.
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What to serve with Pork Carnitas
When I think of the best Pork Carnitas, I think of Tacos de Carnitas (Pork Carnitas Tacos), with pico de gallo, Mexican rice, and homemade beans. Additionally, these Pull Pork is so good and juicy, you can actually use them to make Chiles Rellenos (stuffed peppers), Sliders, Burritos, and Enchiladas.
Cooking for Meal Prepping
- Freeze and maintain quality
- Place your pork in a stasher bag, freeze and eat later
These pork carnitas are a wonderful combination of flavourful, juicy, and crispiness. Plus, pan-frying will give you golden bits that make this recipe the best. For an authentic meal, stuff them in warm corn tortillas and make some carnitas tacos. Read my review of FarmFoods Market. Basically, it is slow cooked pork butt that you can make into different meals.
- 4 lb pork shoulder (pork butt from Farm Foods Market) or skinless, boneless 5lb bone-in (Buy Here)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup fresh orange juice (2 oranges)
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 4 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp chili powder
- Rinse and dry the pork shoulder, rub all over with salt and pepper.
- Combine the Rub ingredients then rub all over the pork.
- Place the pork in a slow cooker (fat cap up), top with the onion, minced garlic (don't worry about spreading it), and squeeze over the juice of the oranges.
- Slow Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 7 hours or 12 hours on low.
- The pork should be tender enough to shred. Remove from slow cooker and let cool slightly. Then shred using two forks.
- Optional: Skim off the fat from the juices remaining in the slow cooker and discard.
When done cooking your carnitas, if you have a lot more than 2 cups of juice, then reduce it down to about 2 cups. The liquid will be for the pork. Set liquid aside – don't bother straining onion, etc, it's super soft.
- In a large stainless steel skillet or well-seasoned cast iron skillet over high heat. Spread pork in the pan, drizzle over some juices. Wait until the juices evaporate and the bottom side is golden brown and crusty. Turn and just briefly sear the other side – you don't want to make it brown all over because then it's too crispy, need tender juicy bits.
- Remove pork from skillet. Repeat in batches (takes me 4 batches) – don't crowd the pan.
- The Pork: Use pork with the skin removed but leaving some of the fat cap on. The fat adds juiciness to the carnitas – and excess fat can be skimmed off later.
- Taco Fixings: Diced avocado or make a real proper Guacamole, Pico de Gallo or Restaurant Style Salsa or even just sliced tomato, grated cheese, sour cream.
- Other Ways to use Carnitas: Burritos (switch for the beef), Make slow cooked pork sliders instead of tacos. Skip the crisping step and add some barbeque sauce.
- Freeze meat in a stasher bag and freeze the juice in a separate bag. To rewarm, pour some of the juice over the meat, warm in a stainless steel pan.
If you liked this recipe, try the Pork Chops with Caramelized Onions and Apples Recipe