I have seen recipes for carnitas floating around the internet, but I honestly didn’t know what they were.
After a little research, I found that carnitas are a Mexican specialty of seasoned pulled pork, traditionally fried in lard, with a mixture of juicy and crispy browned parts. Carnitas are great in sandwiches, or as a filling for tamales.
They sound delicious- but I am thinking that there has to be a way around that “fried in lard” step (I am not even sure where to buy straight-up lard to fry it in!).
So, I started thinking and decided that I would try and use my slow cooker instead . . . I love using my slow cooker to take a tough cut of meat and make it fall apart. As far as getting those “crispy browned pieces”, I decided to throw it under the broiler for a second to caramelize the juices on the meat. And guess what? It turned out awesome! Since I have never had a real carnitas, I didn’t have much to compare it to, but this meal will definitely be made again in our home! You could use these meat in enchiladas, burritos, tacos, on top of a salad, etc. Your family will love it!
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
1 (2-3 lb) pork roast
1 can (15 oz) enchilada sauce
1 cup salsa
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Place roast in slow cooker sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over the roast.
Cook on LOW for 8-10 hours or HIGH for 5-6 hours (I would recommend the low setting). Remove roast from slow cooker when finished cooking and shred using two forks (it should fall apart pretty easily). Cover a large baking sheet (15x10x1″) with foil and spread the shredded meat on top of it. Pour some of the liquid from the slow cooker over the meat (I used about 1 1/2 cups- use as much or as little as you like).
Broil meat for about 5 minutes, until it starts to caramelize around the edges (I flipped my meat once during this time).
Serve meat on tortillas, in burritos, enchiladas, or even on top of your favorite salad. It makes great leftovers too!
I served mine on soft flour tortillas with cheese and my favorite fresh homemade salsa.