Slow Cooker Carnitas

I mentioned in my last post that we recently moved into our new house so we’re on our own now but before that, we were staying with my parents for a few months.  A lot of people might complain about that but Shane and I get along really well with my parents so moving out was probably harder than living with them. 

It also turned out to be a huge blessing because we were still living with them when Kelly was born.  It was so great to have my mom there to help me and give us breaks from our new role as parents.  My dad and sister left a few days after Kelly was born to hike Mount Kilimanjaro before my sister started her semester abroad in Ghana.  Since it was just my mom, Shane and I (and Kelly of course!) at the house, my mom was making most of the meals for us but once my dad was back and life was starting to feel a little more manageable, I decided to try my hand at a new recipe.

I saw an Instagram picture from my friend Claire about some slow cooker carnitas that she was having for dinner and the picture made my mouth water so I did what everyone does nowadays and headed straight to Pinterest.  As usual, I took a few recipes and combined the stuff I like and took out the stuff that I don’t.

The end result?  Delicious!

photo 1

Turns out I am terrible at photographing carnitas in a way that makes the meat look edible but trust me, it was good.

photo 2

There was also plenty left over which made a couple sandwiches and a salad for me so this one recipe really worked for a few dishes.

photo 5

Here’s what you need:

  • 6 pounds of pork shoulder (this was the smallest amount our grocery store had so we had a lot leftover)
  • 5 cloves of garlic (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1 tsp of chili powder
  • 1 tsp of black pepper
  • 1 tsp of oregano
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 12 oz of beer
  • 1/2 cup of chunky salsa
  • juice of 2 limes

photo 3

We made carnita tacos with a side of homemade guacamole since avocados will only be in season for a little while longer.

photo 4

The smells that filled the kitchen were definitely strong (in a good way) but the flavor wasn’t as overpowering as I was worried it might be.  The meat was flavorful but not too spicy or overwhelming.


  • Place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker. Chop the garlic and rub into the meat to add flavor.
  • Add all the seasonings to the crockpot and rub into the meat.
  • Add lime juice, orange juice, beer, and salsa. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.  (I ended up cooking it on high for about 5 hours because I started late so I just served the meat that was already done continued to cook the remaining meat on low during dinner)
  • Remove meat and shred from bone.  I returned the meat that was not quite done to the crockpot to let it continue cooking
  • Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the shredded meat on the cooking sheet and pour a few spoonfuls of sauce over the top. Broil for 5-10 minutes or until you get browned edges on the pork.

As I said before, we had these as tacos for dinner and then the next day, my dad and Shane had leftovers as sandwiches and I added some to my salad.  Another social media inspired recipe success!

And just because I love this picture, here’s Kelly Smile


How do you come up with new recipe ideas?

Have you seen anything good on Pinterest lately?


  1. Yum! I only see Carnitas in Chipotle and I would always get that everytime we eat there. Thanks for sharing the recipe! :)

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