Today is our second day of Cinco De Mayo recipes and we are making Slow Cooker Spicy Carnitas! I love this holiday, mostly for the excuse to drink margaritas and eat Mexican food!!! Why can’t every nationality have a holiday here in America? Makes sense, right? I mean America is a melting pot of heritages anyways. How amazing would it be to have an Italian day and eat all of the Italian food or an Indian day and stuff our faces with Indian food all day long, or a French day, maybe a Thai day?! Let’s get on top of this people! As you can tell I’m only here for the food! 😉
For now Cinco de Mayo will have to do. These Slow Cooker Spicy Carnitas are perfect for you Cinco de Mayo partaaaayyyy because they make a large batch 10 to 12 servings. Plus the meat is soooo easy to make – slow cooker, we love you! BUT if you aren’t having a Cinco de Mayo party, you should still make these carnitas. If you get tired of making tacos with the leftover meat you can easily make it into a quesadilla or throw it into a salad. OR you can freeze the meat!
BTW you guys we finally got a chest freezer! This is a reason to celebrate because we have been talking about one FOREVER. Something always got in the way and just when we were about to buy one we discovered there wasn’t electrical hook ups in a convenient spot in the basement. The only place was next to the washer and dryer/bathroom that has no door. That is not a very convenient space to put a freezer. Never fear we finally got some things wired – so thankful for handy friends who are willing to drive 30 minutes on a weeknight for the payment of dinner and wine to wire our basement properly! Now I can stock up on meat when it’s on sale and frozen fruit for smoothies and freeze leftovers without them falling out of my tiny freezer attached to my fridge! Life is good friends and my foodie heart is happy!
Anyways, back to the Slow Cooker Spicy Carnitas that you can freeze or not freeze. The meat is so tender it melts in your mouth, it is smoky, spicy, and a little sweet. BTW if you’re not into spice you can leave out the chipotle peppers, everything will still be very tasty. Once the pork is cooked in the slow cooker for several hours until it’s so tender it practically shreds itself all you do is transfer that shredded pork onto a baking sheet and pop it under the broiler for a few minutes to get it nice and crispy and charred. Although, if you are in a hurry this step is totally optional. Then we pile our tender shredded pork into tacos shells and top those tacos with a quick cucumber tomato pico de gallo and some tangy, crunchy quick pickled onions! You could also throw on some crumbled queso fresco, or some sliced avocado, or even some sour cream! It’s your carnita my friend, get creative!
I know I said this in my last post about my Easy Chicken Mole but a margarita would be the perfect drink to have with these Slow Cooker Spicy Carnitas! Specifically my Skinny Orange Lime Margarita – perfect Cinco de Mayo drink if you ask me!
Some more exciting news: in just 2 days Paul and I will be flying to Flagstaff Arizona to visit a friend! YES we will be there during Cinco de Mayo – PARRRTTTAAAYYY! I went to Arizona once when I was in middle school on a family trip and enjoyed it. Any restaurant recommendations or things to do in Flagstaff or surrounding areas?! Grand Canyon is a given but we would love any other suggestions. Leave them in the comments below – thanks! 🙂
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup fresh orange juice (1½ oranges)
- ½ cup fresh lime juice (1½ - 2 limes)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke (optional)
- 1 to 2 + 1 teaspoon sauce peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 4 to 5 pound lean boneless pork roast (pork shoulder or pork butt)
- Quick pickled red onion (optional)
- ¼ cup hot water
- ½ cup distilled vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- Quick Pico De Gallo (optional)
- 2 cups grape tomatoes, chopped
- 1 seedless cucumber, chopped
- ¼ cup cilantro, hopped
- juice of 1 lime
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt
- Options for serving:
- corn tortilla shells
- Queso Fresco, crumbled
- sour cream
- sliced avocado
- cilantro, chopped
- Cook the pork in the slow cooker: add all of the sauce ingredients to the for the pork into the bowl of the slow cooker, mix to combine. Trim off as much excess fat from the pork as you can. Place the pork in the cooking liquid. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.
- Make the quick pickled onions: In a medium-sized jar or other heat-proof container with a lid, add the hot water, white wine vinegar, agave nectar, and salt. Close the lid and shake to combine well. Add the onion slices and submerge them in the liquid. Place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. 30 minutes is best.
- Make the pico de gallo: A few minutes before the pork is done cooking add all ingredients to a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Shred the pork Once the pork is done cooking remove it, allow it to cool enough to handle. Shred it with two forks and remove any remaining fat. At this point you can eat your pork as is OR put it in the broiler for 10 minutes to crisp up a little. To do that heat your broiler and transfer the pork to a rimmed baking sheet. ladle about 1 cup of the sauce over the pork. Broil for 4 to 5 minutes. Toss the pork and ladle more liquid over it, broil for 4 to 5 minutes, or until slightly crispy.
- Assemble and serve: Prepare any of your toppings: heat tortillas, chop cilantro, crumble queso fresco, slice avocado etc. Add a little pork to each tortilla shell and then spoon on the pico de gallo, picked onions and any other desired toppings. If serving to a big crowd you could have all the ingredients on the table in serving bowls and have guests make their own tacos at the table.
- Store leftovers in separate containers. Pork freezes well.
Nutrition facts are only calculated for the pork and it’s cooking liquid since tortilla shells can vary in nutrition by brand and because the toppings are optional.