Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

SO...listen up. This is important. Last night, I cooked what may be the best Mexican home cooked meal yet. Seriously. T agrees. Carnitas, meaning 'little meats', are a type of braised or roasted pork in Mexican cuisine. Carnitas can be eaten just by itself with a little salsa, guac, or refried beans, or as part of a bigger meal with tacos, quesadillas, burritos, etc.

A big shout out to the food blog Gimme Some Oven for coming up with this amazing recipe. Not only is it easy, it makes enough for a crowd and is one of those set-and-forget dinner options which is great for all the upcoming busy days (insert Christmas shopping season!! Stay tuned for a look at what's on my list this year...)

Step One: Gather the ingredients.

Step Two: Trim pork of excess fat and cut into 3-inch sized pieces. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat and sear pork for 2 minutes on each side.

Step Three: Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker, and set to low. Sit back and relax - or go Christmas shopping - while the roast cooks for 6-8 hours.

Step Four: When the meat is completely tender, use a fork to shred it into bite-sized pieces.

Step Five: Preheat your oven broiler. Prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Use a slotted spoon, transfer half of the meat mixture to the baking sheet and spread evenly. Broil for five minutes, remove and gently toss meat, spoon 1/3 C reserved broth over meat, and broil an additional five minutes. Spoon an additional 1/3 C broth over meat, remove to a serving dish and repeat with remaining meat.

Recipe very slightly adapted from Gimme Some Oven

CRISPY SLOW COOKER CARNITAS | Yield: 6-8 Servings | Total Time: 7-8 hours


1 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 (4-5 lb.) lean boneless pork roast, excess fat trimmed, cut into 3-inch chunks*
10 oz. beer*
1 large white onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chipotle powder (or 1 chipotle in adobo sauce)
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper

*NOTE* I used a Hormel 4.5 lb. pork butt roast on recommendation from the meat counter guys for being less fatty than the roasts in the counter. Any beer will do, I chose Dos Equis to keep with the Mexican theme. I think an amber beer would be fun to try too.


Greek yogurt OR sour cream* 
Tortillas, small
Avocado, cubed
Salsa, homemade or store bought (my recipe below)
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1/3 C red onion
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- 1/4 C cilantro, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- sprinkle of kosher salt

*NOTE* I used Greek yogurt as a healthy alternative to sour cream with little noticeable taste/texture difference. Whatever you have on hand is fine.


Remove any excess fat from the pork roast and cut into rough 3-inch chunks. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the pork and sear on each side until browned (about 2 minutes per side). Meanwhile, dice up that onion and mince the garlic. Transfer pork to the slow cooker after searing.

Add the remaining ingredients, and give the mixture a stir to combine. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until the pork shreds easily with a fork. It should be falling apart to the touch. If it isn't, let it bask a little longer. Meanwhile, mix together a homemade salsa. Try not to eat it all before dinner!

Once the pork is cooked, preheat your oven broiler and cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Use a fork to shred the meat, then using a slotted spoon, transfer 1/2 of the mixture to the prepared baking sheet. Spread out evenly in a single layer. Reserve the remaining broth in the slow cooker.

Place the sheet under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until the edges of the pork begin crisping up. Remove the sheet, gently toss, and spoon 1/3 C broth over the meat. Return to oven for another 5 minutes to get the meat more crispy. Remove from the oven and spoon another 1/3 C broth over the meat. Transfer to a serving dish and repeat with remaining meat.

Serve immediately in tacos, quesadillas, burritos, salads, the world is your oyster! Don't forget to get out those toppings! Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers for use another time. Stay tuned for what I'm doing with my leftovers...

What is your favorite slow cooker recipe?

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