My family didn’t eat a lot of pork when I was growing up. We stuck mainly with chicken, beef, and seafood. We occasionally ate bacon when traveling on family vacations, but it wasn’t a part of our daily diet.
Once free of my parent’s clutches ;), and free of my fear of fat after embarking on health and lifestyle change upon learning about the Paleo diet, I got the green light to dive into bacon!
Just kidding. While I love bacon, I use it primarily as a flavor enhancer for roasted vegetables (check out my recipe here for roasted Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes with bacon). I’m sure, based on the name of my blog, you may imagine me sitting down with plates piled high with bacon. Only in my dreams………..
Sorry, I got distracted talking about bacon. Where was I again? Right, not having a lot of experience with cooking pork. Well, I decided to get out of my comfort zone, and figured carnitas were the way to go!
It was a good decision. These carnitas are full of flavor, seasoned with bold Mexican spices like oregano, cumin and garlic. In addition, the acidity from the orange juice and the lime juice along with the low and slow heating process using a slow cooker transform the pork into tender and delicious chunks of meat!
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork (Carnitas)
3 ½ – 4 pounds’ boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2 inch chunks (visible fat trimmed)
2 large oranges, juiced (approximately 1 cup) (keep spent halves of one orange)
Zest from one orange
1 lime, juiced (approximately 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon pepper
t teaspoon paprika
1 large onion, peeled and sliced into quarters
2 bay leaves
2 cups water
- Combine the oregano, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, garlic and orange zest in a small bowl, stirring to combine.
- Coat the pork with the seasoning, and then place the pork in the bottom of a large slow cooker.
- Add the orange halves, the onion quarters and the two bay leaves to the slow cooker.
- Pour the orange juice, lime juice and water into the slow cooker.
- Cover the slower cooker, and cook the pork on low for approximately 8-10 hours (low and slow is the way to go!).
- Once the pork is cooked (you’ll know the pork is done when it shreds easily with a fork), turn the slow cooker off and remove the pork from the liquid, placing the pork into a large bowl.
- Shredded the pork into smaller pieces with two forks, and then its ready to serve.
- Use the pulled pork in your favorite taco shells, and top with your favorite toppings (e.g., pico, salsa, sour cream, cheese, cilantro, pico de gallo, etc.).
Inspired by Cook’s Illustrated Mexican Pulled Pork Carnitas