Carnitas are a traditional Mexican dish involving pork shoulder slowly simmered, roasted or braised, and you can learn how to make slow cooker carnitas. Carnitas is essentially the Mexican equivalent of pulled pork, a tender, flavorful and unforgettable dish. Carnitas can be presented in burritos, tacos or just by itself, because it's going to give you jam packed flavor no matter what form you're after. The best part is that preparing carnitas with a slow cooker is not difficult at all, and the only thing you really need is enough time to let the carnitas cook.
Things you need to cook carnitas:
- Slow cooker
- Pork shoulder
- Chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh cracked black peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon each Mexican oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, chile pepper (optional, spice to taste)
- 4 sprigs fresh cilantro
- 3 bay leaves
- Mix the spices together. The salt and pepper are the only required spices, the other suggested spices can be added to taste. Rub the spices over every part of the pork shoulder. Pour 1/2 cup of chicken stock into the slow cooker.
- Turn the slow cooker on its lowest setting. Carnitas are best when the collagen and fat have time to slowly reduce, so you can keep the temperature as low as it can go. Lower the pork shoulder into the slow cooker. Add more chicken stock until the shoulder is covered.
- Put the lid on the slow cooker. You're looking at about a 5 to 10 hour cook time, depending on how low you can get the slow cooker. Check at the 4 hour mark, the pork needs to be at least 155 degrees. Periodically check when you can and pull the shoulder out once complete. Shred the pork and sprinkle the fresh cilantro on it.