Sunday, May 30, 2021

Slow Cooker Carnitas

 I made a big batch of Carnitas the other day, and decided to go ahead and update an older post.  And just share pictures of this porky goodness.

Carnitas Tacos

Carnita's are a personal favorite of mine and I love ordering them in Mexican restaurants so I can compare them with mine, and maybe pick up a few new ideas.

My understanding about how Carnitas are made traditionally come from an old article I read many years ago.  And I've tried making them the traditional way and OMG they are delicious, however, sometimes you don't have either the time or inclination to stand over a pot simmering away on top of the stove, stirring them occasionally.  Here's how I remember the 'traditional' method:  Cut the pork butt into small 1" pieces, and simmering with a little water, orange juice until the water evaporates, usually takes about 2 hours.  As the pork cooks, the fat renders out, and the pork actually 'fries' a little in it.  Continue to cook over low heat until the pork is browned and crispy.  Serve in warmed tortillas with chopped onion, cilantro and queso fresca. 

And they are delicious.  However, I don't always want to do them that way.  And I've found that the broiler on my oven, works great when it comes to browning and crisping up the pork. 

 I used my crock pot or slow cooker if you like and cooked a whole pork butt (which is actually the shoulder), in a little water and orange juice.  I also added a couple of bay leaves, Cumin, Oregano, some onion and jalapeno. Not too traditional but it tastes good. 

One thing to remember is that the orange juice also works as a weak meat tenderizer.  So you don't need to cook it as long as you might think.  Also the little bit of sugar in the orange juice also helps the caramelization or browning of the meat.  

I also like to eat them either on a flour tortilla with my own refried beans and lots of toppings, including my own home made Créme Fräiche..  I also like them tucked into a crisp corn tortilla.   They're good just by themselves, on a plate.  I'm not fussy, anyway you like them, is good for me.

Carnitas Tacos

 What can I say, pork is good food, at least for this omnivore.


Slow Cooker Carnitas

Slow Cooker Carnitas

Yield: 6 + servings
Author: Sid's Sea Palm Cooking -
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 3 Hourinactive time: 1 HourTotal time: 4 H & 10 M
These Carnitas are better than the restaurant, easy to make and delicious to eat as well.


  • 3# Pork Butt
  • 1 cup chicken stock- homemade works great here.
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 onion
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin (more to taste)


  1. Place all ingredients into slow cooker, set on high for 2 hours.  Remove the meat, cut into smaller pieces and return to pot and let cook 1-2 more hours on low. 
  2. Remove from heat, drain, reserving the cooking juices. 
  3. Break the meat up a little, and spread it on a single layer on a rimmed baking pan and place under broiler until it browns and crisps up.
  4. Serve on a tortilla with fresh tomatoes and grilled onion slices, top with some queso fresca if desired or just a sprinkle of Monterey Jack cheese. 

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Sidsel Munkholm - Author
Sidsel Munkholm - Author

Sid loves to cook, feed people and have fun in the kitchen. She shares her successes and the involuntary offerings she sometimes gives the kitchen goddess as well. And she's still looking for the mythical fairy to help her clean the kitchen after a marathon cooking session. Currently working on a cookbook showcasing the recipes from her Danish heritage.

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