Like any self respecting carnivore I have a serious thing for carnitas–I mean, what’s not to love about crackling hot, crispy pork enveloped in a corn tortilla hug and loaded with all the salsas?
Unless you don’t eat meat–which is totally fine by me–but also I defer to Ron Swanson on all meat-related matters. And all matters, generally speaking.
But let’s get back to crispy fried pork carnitas, shall we?
For many years, Warren and I have made this version of Easy Slow Cooker Carnitas. It’s a standard in our house because it is easy (hence, the title of the recipe), dependable, and just all around great.
But sometimes I get the urge to go cattin’ around on my old recipe favorites (which is what brought me to my taco love affairs known as Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos and Blackened Shrimp Tacos). Because I’m afflicted with Food FOMO, which is a real thing (at least in my head), and there are so many carnitas recipes in the world.
And I just want to try them all. It’s a disorder, probably.
This version of Easy Slow Cooker Carnitas takes everything I love about our original carnitas recipe and marries it with frying meat.
See those golden, crisp chunks of awesome? Frying is the answer. To keep it a little healthier (though you’re using fatty pork shoulder so there is only so much you can do) or if you are short on time you technically can skip the frying step. But just know that I don’t recommend it.
Because melt in your mouth pork + frying pan = game changing carnitas.
And let’s be real: that is the only math equation I can comfortably commit to memory.
And here’s a teeny sneak peek into next week’s recipe, which is how we used this batch of carnitas. Any guesses?
Easy Slow Cooker Carnitas
- 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and halved
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ½ cup fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive or peanut oil for frying cooked carnitas
- Sprinkle pork with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, garlic powder, and cumin. Toss in the slow cooker along with the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, until pork shreds easily, or on high for 4 hours.
- Remove cooked carnitas from slow cooker with a slotted spoon and use two forks to pull the cubes apart into smaller, bite-sized pieces. (Discard cooking liquid. Though we use the remaining liquid to make posole with any leftover carnitas).
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet (I like to use peanut oil but olive or vegetable would work fine too--if you want to impart an even deeper flavor, use shortening!). Fry shredded carnitas in 1-2 cup batches until golden grown and crispy. Devour in tacos, burritos, arepas, or quesadillas!