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Look no further than these mouthwatering slow cooker pork carnitas! This recipe for slow cooker pork carnitas is perfect for busy weeknights when you crave a hearty and satisfying meal without spending hours in the kitchen. By using a slow cooker and Smithfield® All Natural Pork Shoulder, you can ensure that the pork turns out tender, juicy, and bursting with the delicious spices you love.
My husband and I are both working professionals with jam-packed schedules. When we come home from work, we’re often too exhausted to spend hours cooking. That’s why we rely on quick and easy recipes that require minimal effort. One of our all-time favorite slow cooker recipes is this Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas.
This pork carnitas recipe is versatile and can be enjoyed all year round. It also makes fantastic leftovers, so you can savor the flavors for multiple meals. If you’re pressed for time, you can prepare the toppings the night before by storing them in air-tight containers. When you arrive home, you only need to shred the pork, broil it to perfection, and let your family build their tacos. It’s a stress-free dinner option that’s sure to please everyone.
Ingredients for Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
To start, you’ll need a pork shoulder or pork butt roast, a tough cut of meat that will become incredibly tender after slow cooking.
The other essential ingredient is a flavorful blend of seasonings, such as chili powder, cumin, oregano, and garlic powder. You can also add some salt, pepper, and a bay leaf for extra depth of flavor. For the liquid, you’ll want to use chicken, vegetable broth, or even water to keep the pork moist while it cooks.
Now, let’s talk about some optional ingredients that will take your pork carnitas to the next level. One of the easiest ways to add flavor is using canned or fresh tomatoes, which will help create a rich and saucy texture. You can also experiment with chili peppers, such as chipotle or ancho, for a smoky and slightly spicy flavor.
A common ingredient that is typically included with pork carnitas is fresh oranges. They provide a tangy and sweet contrast to the savory pork. Other fruits that work well include oranges, limes, and even apples.
Side Dish Ideas to Serve with Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
Along with the mouthwatering pork carnitas, it’s essential to have the perfect sides to accompany your meal. Here are some side dish ideas that will go perfectly with this dish:
- Rice and beans
- Roasted vegetables
- Mexican street corn
- A simple salad
- Refried Beans
- Black Beans
- Mexican Rice
- Cilantro Lime Rice
Lastly, don’t forget to have some corn tortillas on hand to make delicious pork carnitas tacos or quesadillas.
Toppings for Pork Carnitas
There are plenty of options to choose from to customize your pork carnitas. Classic toppings include:
- Diced tomato
- Pickled onions
- Sour cream
- Grilled pineapple
- Pico De Gallo
When you have leftovers, don’t let them go to waste! There are plenty of creative and delicious ways to use up any extra pork carnitas you have.
Leftover Pork Carnitas Ideas
When you find yourself with leftover pork carnitas, there’s no need to let them go to waste. Instead, use your creativity and experiment with different ways to enjoy them. Here are a few options:
- Burrito Bowls
- Pork Carnitas Nachos
- Pulled Pork Sandwich
- Pork Carnitas Quesadilla
- Add to your grilled cheese sandwich
- Pork Carnitas Baked Potato
Another idea is to turn your leftovers into a flavorful soup by adding them to chicken or vegetable broth, along with some diced tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers. Top with a dollop of sour cream and some fresh herbs for added flavor.
Commonly Asked Questions
Yes! Leftover pork carnitas can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Simply thaw the pork in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
While you can use pork roast for slow cooking, it may not be as tender as pork shoulder. Pork shoulder has more fat and connective tissue, which breaks down during cooking and helps keep the meat moist and flavorful
While these terms are often used interchangeably, they have some differences. The pork shoulder is a cut of meat that comes from the upper part of the pig’s front leg. Pork roast is a general term that refers to any cut of pork suitable for roasting, while pork butt (also known as pork shoulder butt) is a specific cut of pork from the upper part of the shoulder.
If you like this recipe, you will enjoy the recipes below:
- Easy Chicken Taco Boats
- Chicken Chimichangas
- Chicken Fajita Quesadillas
- Taco Bell Copycat Chalupas
- Spanish Rice Crunchwrap Supreme
- Easy Beef Burrito Skillet