I know I have shared my love of pork with you before, but today the dish of my affections is slow cooker pork carnitas. When we were travelling through Mexico this dish was one of my favourite to buy from the street markets. Typically there would be a large pot of pork carnitas meat next to a grill. When a customer ordered a pork taco, the cook would scoop the most delicious pulled pork meat from the pot and place it on a hot grill. The grill would create delicious crispy bits of pork and give the meat a slightly smoky flavour.
When the meat was sufficiently browned it was placed between two soft tortilla’s. We would then be able to add our own sauces from the salsa bar. Even the most humble street vendor had an impressive range of sauces. We found eating from theses stalls a real learning experience. By trial and error we discovered that the tomatillo salsa verde was usually slightly milder than the red sauces.
Even with this local knowledge we never quite knew how hot each of the homemade salsa’s would be. I’m sure the locals loved seeing the Aussie tourists add too much hot sauce, and then turn red in the face, whilst gasping for breath.
If there is one thing I enjoy more than eating local food when I’m on holidays it’s learning to cook local food. The recipe for slow cooker pork carnitas I’m sharing today is one that I brought back from Mexico. It’s really simple and the use of a slow cooker means that it requires no input or attention during the cooking time.
To make the process even easier prep the dish the night before and refrigerate. Next morning all that’s left for you to do is put the dish into the slow cooker and turn it on before you leave for work. Upon your return you will be greeted with the most amazing food aroma’s.
Authentic Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
- 2.5 kg pork shoulder with the bone removed rindless
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 red chilli I like birds eye - hot chilli but you can use large mild chillies
- 5 cloves chopped garlic
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- Juice of 2 oranges
- 1¼ tbsp table salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- Combine the cumin and oregano for the meat rub
- Wash the pork shoulder,.
- Rub the pork all over with the rub.
- Put the meat into a large slow cooker with the fat side up. The fat will flow through the meat as it cooks.
- Add the onion, chilli, garlic, salt pepper and orange juice to the slow cooker.
- Set the slow cooker for 9 to 10 hours on low.
- When the meat is tender and can be pulled into stands it's ready.
- Remove the meat from the slow cooker and reserve the juice,
- Shred the pork with two forks. Put the meat side whilst you make the sauce.
- Place the cooking liquid in a saucepan and bring it to a rolling boil.
- Stir occasional as you reduce the liquid to a sauce.
- This recipe makes a lot of Pork Carnitas. I usually split the meat in half. Half I pack away for another meal. The over half gets crisped up ready to be served.
- Add oil to a heavy based frying pan.
- Add enough pulled pork to cover the base of the pan.
- Cook without turning the meat until the bottom is crisp.
- Remove the meat from the pan and serve dressed with some of the sauce.
- I only ever pan fry the meat we are eating at the current meal. I want to keep it moist and delicious.
I usually serve this dish with homemade soft corn tortillas. If you’re in a rush, you could always use store bought tortilla’s. I find tortilla making very therapeutic. Take a look at the soft corn tortilla link for a simple recipe and a Youtube instructional guide.
While you’re at the shops buy a “dry slaw” add lime juice and fresh coriander (cilantro) for a fresh salad to accompany the pork carnitas. Then if you want the meal to to be extra special, whip up my 5 minute Mexican Guacamole.
The combination of flavours such as lime, coriander and and citrus gives a very fresh Mexican feel to the meal. It could easily be served in Summer or Winter. Until I can return to Mexico, I will have to be satisfied with making this dish myself. I will continue to dream about watching the carnitas meat cooking at the street market. I loved smelling that rich meaty aroma, and trying to make a wise salsa choice!
Make sure you pin this recipe for when you next crave a Mexican feast.