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Easy Crockpot Carnitas

Meaty, Satisfying, SUPER FLAVORFUL and SO EASY that a monkey could put it together! (NOT that you are a monkey!). But SERIOUSLY these EASY CROCKPOT CARNITAS ARE ready to go in about 5 minutes! Just dump and GO! PERFECT for Tailgating and Game Day!

 

two carnitas on parchment paper with a drink and lime

 

Why This Recipe for Easy Crockpot Carnitas Works!

  • Meaty EASY to FIND Cuts of Pork
  • Make it in whatever quantity works for you. 
  • Use Country Style Ribs instead of a whole pork shoulder! (save money!) 
  • FLAVORFUL taste of the south! 
  • Perfect for tailgating and game days!

 

Here’s How It’s Done

STEP 1. Mix up your spices and pat them into the meat. Put the meat in the crockpot. 

spices in bowl with cut onion in background

STEP 2. Zest your limes and orange, cut up an onion and put those all in the slow cooker. 

lime and rasper

STEP 3. Put the lid on and come back in 6-8 hours. Shred the meat (and roast it a little more under the broiler if you choose) and you are GOOD TO GO! 

the fully cooked carnitas with oranges noted on top

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) about Easy Crockpot Carnitas

What Do You Put In a Carnita Taco? 

Oh we LOVE ours with some sour cream, a little crumbly mexican cheese (or any cheese, who am I kidding?) and a sprinkle of lime squeezed over the top. Maybe pickled red onion or something deliciously sour like that! 

What IS a Carnitas Taco?

Carnitas are classically a pork taco made with slow cooked and braised “little meats”. Typically flavored with orange and lime.

How Do You Eat Carnitas? 

Hopefully not as impolitely as me, cause, SO GOOD! Anyway, warm your tortilla shell, pile on the meats and the toppings and get them as quickly to your mouth as you can!

What’s the Difference Between Carnitas and Tacos? 

So, in our Americanized taco world, the main difference is the shell and the filling. Carnitas are typically a soft shell and the meat is flavored with citrus flavors. In our tex-mexy world you’ll often find ground beef for filling and it is flavored with chili powder and other spicy seasonings. 

What’s the Difference Between Barbacoa and Carnitas? 

Barbacoa (a type of barbecue) does not have all of the flavors that carnitas do. Once you add the citrus, bay and cinnamon, there’s no mistaking that carnitas flavor! 

Are Carnitas Healthy To Eat? 

Like everything else, that depends on what you are looking for in your diet! Are you on a keto or low carb diet? Then this is the perfect dish for you! 

Are you vegan or vegetarian, then you will want to steer clear of these.

Carnitas slow cook the meat and render a lot of the fat out leaving protein and spices so all in all, that sounds pretty good for you! Just avoid loading them up with stuff that aren’t on your diet. 

What Cut Of Meat Should I Use For Carnitas

Typically, you’ll find recipes calling for whole pork shoulder, but that makes a TON of meat! (

Thank goodness it freezes well!). This recipe uses country style pork ribs because they are meaty and affordable AND you can make just the amount you want!

package of country style ribs and crockpot

Can I Freeze Carnitas? 

Yes, just place your leftover cooked carnitas in a freezer safe bag, seal, remove as much air as possible, label the bag and put them in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

How Long Are Carnitas Good For? 

Carnitas will last in your refrigerator for about 5 days (be sure to keep them covered). Don’t let them sit out for more than 2 days. 

Can I Make Carnitas the Day Before?

Do you want your carnitas to taste EVEN BETTER? Then YES! Cook your carnitas the day before and then heat them up for your even on the day you plan to use them. 

If You Enjoyed This Recipe for Easy Crockpot Carnitas, You Might Also Enjoy….

Easy Summer Party Barbecue

Jerk Chicken

Crockpot Cuban Sandwiches

Appalachian Tiger Sauce

4 carnitas on a gray background with floral towel

Tips and Tricks for Easy Crockpot Carnitas

  • We use Country Style Ribs in the recipe because they are affordable and easy to work with. If you are expecting a BIG CROWD, go ahead and use a whole Boston Butt or Pork Shoulder Cut. Put this all in the crockpot the night before and let it cook on low for 24 hours. Delicious! You’ll need to double or triple the seasonings depending on the weight of your cut of pork.
  • Feel free to cut the orange and limes up and put the fruit pieces into the crockpot, my family just does not like it like that. The orange and lime flavors are strong enough for us the way that I make this here. 
  • If you do not have minced garlic, use fresh. Remove as much of the papery skin on a head of garlic as you can, cut it in half (through the equator) and then put it in the crockpot whole (no worries, you won’t be eating the papery skin, it will stay in place). 
  • A lovely article on Mexican culture and the history of carnitas.

YA’LL HELP ME OUT, OK?

Be sweet and leave me a 5 STAR COMMENT 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 below, please. It helps others to find the recipes here at Loaves and Dishes. 

Photo 3Easy 15 minute Beef and Rice and Corn Burrito

Easy Crockpot Carnitas

Meaty, Satisfying, SUPER FLAVORFUL and SO EASY that a monkey could put it together! (NOT that you are a monkey!). But SERIOUSLY ready to go in about 5 minutes! Just dump and GO! PERFECT for Tailgating and Game Day!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: carnitas, crock pot carnitas, slow cooker carnitas
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 243kcal
Author: Wendi Spraker

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbs Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tbs Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs Ground Pepper
  • 2 tsp KOSHER salt
  • 1 Tbs Rosemary
  • 1 Tbs Thyme
  • ¼ C Minced Garlic
  • 3-4 lb Country Style Pork Ribs see notes
  • 1 medium yellow onion cut into ribs or quarters
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 orange
  • 2 limes plus extra for serving with the finished meal
  • ½ Cup water

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, mix the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, pepper, salt, rosemary, thyme, minced garlic. Rub this mixture onto the surface of the country style ribs and then place them in the crockpot bowl.
  • Cut the onion and place it on top of the ribs.
  • Zest the orange, then cut it in half and give it a squeeze before placing it into the crockpot.
  • Zest the limes and then give them a squeeze before placing them into the crockpot. Pour the water gently down the sides of the crock pot so that it doesn’t wash the spices off of the pork. Add bay leaves.
  • Put the lid on, set on high for 4-6 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
  • When the meat is falling from the bone, it is finished.
  • Remove the orange and lime halves from the crockpot giving them a good squeeze into the crockpot before discarding. Remove bay leaves.
  • Remove the meat from the crockpot with tongs to a baking sheet.
  • Use two forks and shred the meat by pulling it in opposite directions with the forks turned upside down. Discard any bones or heavy tendons that you may find.
  • Dip out 1 Cup of the crock pot juices and pour over the meat in the baking sheet and mix well.
  • Broil under HI for about 3-4 minutes to crisp up the meat
  • Pour off the juices from the crockpot into a bowl while meat is in the broiler.
  • Put the carnitas meat back into the crockpot once it is crisped as desired.
  • Add back some of the reserved juices if you feel that it appears to dry.
  • Serve on soft warmed tortillas with cheese, pickled onions, sour cream, cilantro, avocado slices and limes.

Notes

  • We use Country Style Ribs in the recipe because they are affordable and easy to work with. If you are expecting a BIG CROWD, go ahead and use a whole Boston Butt or Pork Shoulder Cut. Put this all in the crockpot the night before and let it cook on low for 24 hours. Delicious! You’ll need to double or triple the seasonings depending on the weight of your cut of pork.
  • Feel free to cut the orange and limes up and put the fruit pieces into the crockpot, my family just doesn't like it like that. The orange and lime flavors are strong enough for us the way that I make this here.
  • If you do not have minced garlic, use fresh. Remove as much of the papery skin on a head of garlic as you can, cut it in half (through the equator) and then put it in the crockpot whole (no worries, you won’t be eating the papery skin, it will stay in place).
  • You’ll want to serve this with a delicious sauce! Try our Yum Yum Sauce or Tiger Sauce!
    We love the carnitas meat served over a salad (if we have leftovers) with some sour cream and Doritos chips crushed over the top! YUM!
 
  • Pro Tip - If you prefer the meat to remain soft instead of crisping the edges, then simply skip the broiler step (that’s what we do at our house).

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Easy Crockpot Carnitas
Amount Per Serving
Calories 243 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Cholesterol 82mg27%
Sodium 672mg28%
Potassium 484mg14%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 22g44%
Vitamin A 415IU8%
Vitamin C 18mg22%
Calcium 70mg7%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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A VERSE TO SHARE

Do you consider yourself a steward of the earth? Are you found trustworthy with this task? This of everything you threw away today that will go into a great chasm in the earth. Just think about it for a minute. 

1 Corinthians 4:2

Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.

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Wendi Spraker

Friday 15th of November 2019

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Friday 8th of November 2019

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