Have you ever made a new recipe and after one bite knew it was one you’d keep forever? Isn’t it so exciting when that happens? No, just me? Perhaps I need to look into picking up some more hobbies.
Ok, but surely everyone can get excited about a recipe that is both worthy of keeping forever and provides two meals in one. I have a few of these in my recipe book, and these pork carnitas are one of them. I try to include at least one of my “two meals in one” recipes in my meal planning every week. On a busy night when there just isn’t time to cook or after a long day when the last thing you want to do is spend time in the kitchen, these recipes are lifesavers.
I came across this recipe several years ago during a particularly difficult time in our lives. At the time it was just a means to an end, I needed something that was quick and easy and this recipe fit the bill. I didn’t expect it to be outstanding, just another meal on the table. However, I remember sitting down at the table that evening, feeling a little glum and being so surprised at the amazing flavor of it. I had put some of the pork on a corn tortilla, topped it with some shredded cheese and a little mild green verde, and the result was over the top good. It was just what I needed that night to distract me from the negative thoughts floating through my head and instead focus on something as simple as the food I was eating.
This recipe is so versatile, the flavors are delicious on their own as a stand alone dish but also mild enough to be mixed in with a number of other ingredients. My favorite way to enjoy this two meals in one recipe is to serve it shredded for tacos for the first meal, then slice the remainder into 1-2 inches thick pieces to be reheated and served with side dishes a couple of nights later.
These pork carnitas are also great for serving a large crowd. I have often filled one slow cooker with this recipe, another with chicken taco meat, and then put out a variety of tortillas and toppings. This is a quick and easy way to serve a large group.
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
The original recipe called for using a pork shoulder. I've used both a pork shoulder and pork loin for this recipe. Both are great but I prefer a pork loin since it doesn't fall apart as much as a shoulder, which works well for slicing into pieces when I serve the leftovers for a second time. Also, if your roast is in the 4-5 lb. range you may want to heap your seasonings a little when measuring.
- 3-5 lb. pork loin or shoulder (see notes above)
- 3 t. oregano
- 2 t. black pepper
- 1 t. salt
- 1/2 t. ground cumin
- 1 onion, cut into large chunks
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and slightly smashed
Mix together seasonings and rub over all sides of pork. Cut pork into a few large pieces.
Place pork in slow cooker and top with onion and garlic.
Cook on low 6-8 hours. Discard onion and garlic. Shred or slice meat and serve.
Source: slightly adapted from 100daysofrealfood.com.