I discovered carnitas much too late in life. My best friend in college was jonesing for a late night, high quality mexican snack. Unfortunately, it was 11 pm and most restaurants were closed. The high quality would have to be sacrificed. I refused to eat fast food so we wound up at a dive near the Las Vegas strip. The kitchen was closing, and I didn’t want to hold up the staff – I remember working as a cook and there is nothing worse than someone coming in 10 minutes before closing and ordering something complicated – so I told the waiter to give me anything that was easy to put together. He came out with a giant mound of shredded pork, a tin foil packet of corn tortillas, and the traditional mexican condiments. At first I thought this was a make your own taco plate, but quickly discovered it was much more. While some people have tacos as their go-to mexican meal, carnitas will forever be mine.
I adapted this recipe from Stephanie O’Dea. She used her slow cooker everyday for an entire year and published two cookbooks on the topic. Her blog is a wonderful resource if you are looking for ways to use your slow cooker.
- 2 – 3 lb pork roast
- 2 tsp chile powder (store bought cannot compare in taste and heat)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 3/4c orange juice
- 1/2c chicken broth
- 7 cloves garlic, peeled
1. Start by making the dry rub. Mix the chile powder, salt, and cumin in a bowl.
2. Spread the rub on your pork roast making sure to cover every part.
3. Smash the garlic cloves with your hand and place in the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the pork on top. Add the orange juice and chicken broth. Turn the slow cooker to low and cook for 7 to 8 hours.
4. Remove the roast from the slow cooker and using two forks, shred. Mix the shredded pork with 1/4c of the braising liquid. Serve with warmed tortilla’s, salsa, sour cream, or any other condiment.
Note: the night I made this, I didn’t have any tortillas to serve alongside. So I offer a picture of the final product instead.
You can also use this recipe to make a pulled pork sandwich. While not authentic southern barbeque, mix the shredded pork with 1/4c of the braising liquid, serve on a potato roll, and cover with the kind of barbeque sauce that makes you happy just thinking about it. Serve alongside fresh coleslaw and crunchy pickles.