Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas

These carnitas are great served in tortillas or lettuce cups, on top of salad or nachos, or even stuffed inside a baked sweet potato!


For the rub: 

– 2 teaspoons kosher salt 
– 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
– 1 teaspoon cumin 
– 1 teaspoon dried oregano 
– ¾ teaspoon chili powder
– ½ teaspoon garlic powder 

For the pork: 

– ¼ cup low-sodium chicken or beef broth
– ¼ cup fresh orange juice (1 orange)
– 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (1 lime)
– 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
– 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
– 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder or butt
– 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
– ½ medium yellow onion, sliced (1 cup)
– 2 bay leaves 

To serve: 

– ½ cup finely diced white onion 
– ½ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
– Your favorite hot sauce 
– 1 lime, cut into wedges 
– 1 avocado, thinly sliced


Make the rub: 

  1. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and garlic powder. Set aside. 

Make the pork: 

1. In a separate bowl, whisk together the broth, orange juice, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, and garlic. Set aside. 

2. Cut the pork shoulder into 3 equal chunks. Pat dry, then rub with the spice mixture on all sides until it is evenly and generously coated. 

3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, over high heat until it shimmers. Add the pork pieces and sear on all sides, until a deep brown color forms, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the browned pork to a slow cooker. 

4. Reduce the heat in the skillet to medium and cook the onion, stirring, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. 

5. Transfer the cooked onion to the slow cooker, and nestle them around the pork. Pour in the broth mixture and add the bay leaves. 

6. Cover and cook on High for 4 to 6 hours or on Low for 8 to 10 hours, until the pork is fall-apart fork-tender.

7. When ready to eat, turn the broiler on (set to high if you have the option). If you don’t have a broiler, heat the oven to 500 degrees F or as hot as you can get it.

8. Use tongs to transfer the pork to a large rimmed baking sheet. Discard the bay leaves. Do not dispose of the liquid remaining in the slow cooker; reserve it for later. 

9. Using two forks, shred the pork and spread it in a single even layer over the baking sheet. Place the pork under the broiler or in the oven and cook until the pork begins to crisp up on the edges, 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how hot your broiler gets. Remove from the oven and pour ¾ cup of the reserved cooking liquid all over the pork. Use tongs to toss everything together and again spread the pork into a single layer. Return to the oven and cook until the edges are crisp, 3 to 5 more minutes. Watch carefully as it crisps to make sure it doesn’t burn.

10. Pour an additional ½ cup of the reserved cooking liquid over the pork and give it one last toss to coat evenly. 

11. Serve with diced onion, cilantro, avocado, lime wedges, and hot sauce. 

Recipe courtesy of The Defined Dish Cookbook.

Please tag @calygirlstyld and #what’scookingwithcalygirl when you make yours!

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