Slow Cooker Carnitas



It’s a snowy Sunday, a great day to get a warm meal started in your slow cooker.  I’ve tried several online recipes for this dish, and after making my own tweaks, I think this might be the keeper!  While pork isn’t an every day meal choice, it’s a nice treat once in a while.  Baking the shredded meat in the oven gives it a nice crispy texture, without resorting to the classic “frying in lard” carnitas process.

If you have difficulty finding shoulder steaks, you could try this with a small bone-in roast, or with boneless pork steaks.  A whole 2 lb.  roast may take longer to cook, and it would be harder to get the spices to soak in to all the meat.  Should you try boneless pork, cooking time should be reduced by a couple hours, and you should probably keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t dry out, stirring often.



4 bay leaves
5 cloves garlic, sliced
2 pounds bone-in pork shoulder steaks – about 3 steaks (you can ask your butcher to cut steaks from a shoulder roast)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3 whole cloves (or one for each steak)
1 onion, halved and sliced
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, chopped
1 teaspoon adobo sauce




1. Place bay leaves and garlic at bottom of slow cooker.

2. Mix together salt, pepper and all the ground spices in a bowl. Rub spice mixture all over steaks and stick a clove into each steak. Place the pork steaks on top of the bay leaves and garlic. Sprinkle onion over pork.

3. In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together orange juice and 1 teaspoon of adobo sauce. Pour the juice mixture around the sides of the pork, being careful not to rinse off the spice mixture. Chop the chipotle chile and sprinkle over pork.


4. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours, then turn meat. Continue cooking on low until the pork shreds easily with a fork, about 3 more hours. When the pork is tender, remove from slow cooker, and shred into small chunks with two forks.

4. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with foil, spray with oil and spread shredded pork over cookie sheet. Drizzle enough liquid from the slow cooker to moisten the pork, about 3-6 tablespoons, and bake about 20 minutes, or until the meat begins to crisp.


Serve with tortillas (unless you want low carb), chopped white onion, shredded cabbage, and sliced avocado.


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