Easy Back-to-School Meals #1: Slow Cooker Shredded Pork Carnitas

by Holly on August 22, 2010


I have a serious love for this recipe.  I’ve been making this shredded pork roast in my slow cooker for going on 3 years now.  I had never bothered to write down the way I made it until recently when a friend asked for instructions.  She is a beginner in the kitchen and I realized that it would also be a great recipe to share and finally record.

This is really so simple that you’ll be stunned at how easily you can make a meal.  In fact, this makes so much shredded pork, that unless you are feeding a serious crowd (probably around 8-10 adults) then you can most likely stretch this into several meals like I do.  I have several ideas for ways you can use this one recipe for making shredded pork in your crock pot and plan to share them this week in honor of the new school year.

The beauty of this recipe isn’t just in the amount it makes and its ability to stretch.  It is also great because there is relatively no-prep time and very little hands on cooking.  You can take 5 minutes in the morning and get this started then walk away and come home to toss dinner together in minutes.

My most favorite use for this pork is to use it for Carnitas.  I had my first pork ‘street’ taco several years ago and haven’t looked back since.  If carnitas are on the menu in a good Mexican restaurant you can be sure that is what I’ll be ordering.

To make things even simpler and for a real fresh kick I like to serve my favorite Black Bean and Corn Confetti Salad / Dip with the Carnitas.  I use this salad as a dip with chips, which we love, but I also love to serve it along side enchiladas, tacos, or whatever.  It is always a huge hit at parties too and the recipe makes a large bowl that is perfect for a potluck.  It is good for a few days if kept refrigerated (even though the avocado will be less than pretty after a day or two).

Make sure to check in all this week for more ideas on how to use this easy recipe!


Slow Cooker Shredded Pork Carnitas
Original Recipe

1 5-6 lb pork butt or should roast, preferably boneless, but bone-in is fine too
3 cups orange juice or zest and juice from 3 large oranges
2 limes, zest and juice (optional)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed and coarsely chopped (or just smashed)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Enough additional water to almost cover the roast

Season the pork roast with the salt and pepper.  If using the citrus zest(s) rub that all over the meat as well.  Place the roast in the slow cooker.  Add the juice, garlic and water.  Cover and turn the slow cooker on low heat for 8-10 hours or high heat for 5-6 hours.  The roast is ready when it is falling apart in the slow cooker.  Remove the pork to a large plate or dish and use two forks to shred and pull the meat apart, discarding any bits of fat.  Serve hot on corn or flour tortillas with toppings of your choice such as cilantro, lime juice, chopped onion, tomatoes, black bean salad (recipe link above in post), sour cream, etc.  The possibilities are endless.

NOTE:  For a sweet version of the carnitas combine the shredded pork in a large baking dish with 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar and 4 tablespoons of melted butter.  Bake the pork in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes until some edges brown, crisp and caramelize.

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Gourmified August 22, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Holly, I'm drooling…seriously! This looks incredible!

Barbara Bakes August 22, 2010 at 11:50 pm

Sounds easy and delicious. The caramelized park sounds fabulous too.

Emily August 23, 2010 at 12:39 am

I was just thinking today I needed to bust out some slow cooker recipes so I'm more prepared on Sundays after church. Can't wait to try this one–yum!

Cristie August 24, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Holly, both of your meals look great. I love that you can use this meat for several meals. You're such a great cook. I miss you.

Jamie August 30, 2010 at 6:16 am

I made this today and it was fantastic! Loads leftover for the rest of the week and we ALL liked it, which is a rare thing indeed. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Shawn May 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Wow! If it has to cook for three years I’m not sure it’s worth the effort to make.
“I’ve been making this shredded pork roast in my slow cooker for going on 3 years now.”

Holly May 4, 2011 at 4:59 pm

*snort* – my bad in the wording 🙂 I guess that would have to be one heck of a recipe! I guess that’s why it’s good to read the recipe for your directions and not just count on the ramblings of a tired mind! 😉

David May 9, 2011 at 8:32 pm

This is amazing. I made the carnitas with black bean salsa, and it was awesome, and everyone that I gave it to said the same. I have a small family, just three of us, and I thought I would have a problem with leftovers, but made a simple enchilada sauce and stuffed flour tortillas with some of the remaining meat, and it turned into some of the best enchiladas ever. I also used the same cooking spices with chicken instead of pork roast, and it turned out amazing as well. Thanks for the submission. I will follow others

Cooking Dad

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