Where did the day go? Time is moving at warp speed these days. Work, carpool, sports games, dinner, help with homework, face-plant into bed. Dinners like slow cooker carnitas have saved me time and again when I need a no-nonsense answer to “what’s for dinner?”
The quality of meat here makes a difference. I love the pork from Yonder Way Farm in Texas, but just go to a reputable butcher near you. Don’t forget the taco fixings, everything goes! Guacamole, pico, tomatillo salsa, crumbled cotija cheese, cilantro, you name it.
I prefer a fully loaded carnitas bowl, but my family piles theirs in corn tortillas. To warm your corn tortillas, place them in the microwave for 10-12 seconds covered with a damp paper towel.
I’ve been making this super easy dinner for years. I hope you like it as much as we do and it becomes a favorite in your family–for taco Tuesday or any night of the week.
Slow Cooker Carnitas
Prep Cook Total
There are only three ingredients in this super simple recipe, but the outcome is delicious. Look for good-quality, bone-in pork shoulder or pork butt. Serve in corn or flour tortillas or on top of greens for an epic taco salad.
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil (or other high smoke point/low flavor oil)
- 2 1/2 pound pork shoulder (bone-in is more flavorful, but boneless is fine too)
- 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 white or yellow onion, halved and sliced thin into half moons
- In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the oil and warm until shimmering. Sprinkle the pork with salt and add the meat to the pan. Sear the pork until a crust forms, about 4 minutes per side. After one side sears, rotate to sear all the sides and the ends. To do the ends, you may need to hold the pork with tongs and keep it in place.
- Add the bay leaf and sliced onion to the slow cooker. Transfer the pork to a slow cooker and place it on top of the onions. Add any remaining salt and a few grindings of freshly ground pepper.
- Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours. After 6 hours, shred the pork with two forks or tongs. If the meat shreds easily, change temperature setting to warm, cover the slow cooker and set to warm until ready to serve. If the meat doesn’t fall apart, return it to the slow cooker, cover, and cook an additional 1-2 hours on low.
- To crisp the pork, place the shredded meat in a single layer on a sheetpan and broil on high on the top rack of the oven until slightly browned and caramelized on the edges of the meat, about 1 minute.
- Serve with corn tortillas, cilantro, avocado, jalapeños, tomatillo salsa, pickled red onions and hot sauce.