The Hubs has made his own Carnitas for about a decade. It’s a long process that requires close attention be paid as it cooks in orange juice and spices. Using a slow cooker is a long process, but it doesn’t require the same attention since it is more of a set it and forget it cooking method. My goal with Slow Cooker Carnitas was to see how they would stack up.
The aroma in the house was wonderful when I smelled the cooked pork which was a good sign. The pork wasn’t quite as fall apart tender as I had anticipated, so that was not a good sign. It is definitely more of a chore to shred pork, or any meat, that isn’t tender. I made my way through it, though and allowed the meat to soak in the juices in the slow cooker while I continued working on the side dishes and accompaniments.
For my sides I made some white rice with cilantro and Borracho Beans. The accompaniments for the slow cooker carnitas were shredded lettuce, diced tomato, diced onion, pickled red onion, cilantro, sour cream, shredded Monterey jack cheese, and jalapeños.
Right before I was ready to serve up the meal I melted the shortening in a skillet and added a bit of the shredded pork. It crisped up very nicely.
The Hubs was impressed with the flavor and also with the end result after crisping it in the skillet. Although I know he prefers his more authentic recipe and cooking method it’s nice to know that I can make carnitas without being ever present. Another plus for me is that it works well as a freezer to slow cooker meal. The frying part only takes 5-10 minutes, which is less time than it takes to cook a pot of rice!
This recipe made enough that I was able to freeze some of the already cooked and shredded pork. It will be so easy to pull some out, thaw it quickly, and crisp up for the Hubs.
Winner winner slow cooker carnitas dinner!
Slow Cooker Carnitas
Place all ingredients, except shortening, in the slow cooker. Liquid should come to about halfway of the pork.
Cook for 8 hours on low.
Melt shortening in skillet, cast iron is preferred. Add some of the cooked and shredded pork to the skillet and fry, stirring regularly, until lightly crisp.
Serve in tortillas, on buns, or in taco shells.
Note 1: This may be made as a freezer to slow cooker meal. Place all ingredients except shortening in gallon freezer bag and freeze. Note 2: Vegetable oil, coconut oil, or lard can be subbed for shortening based on your preferences.