crockpot carnitas

i have to admit – i made this recipe for crockpot carnitas last january.  yes a year ago.  i don’t know how i still haven’t written a post on it because it was really really good.  so i apologize for not sharing this recipe with you sooner.  i hope you forgive me.

i love crockpot recipes.  i even did a whole series of crockpot recipes a while back because i had so many different crockpot recipes.  check them all out here!  crockpot/slow cooker recipes are the best because they are usually super simple.  this recipe is no different.  brown the meat, add the seasoning, plop in the crockpot – then set it and forget about it.  genius.

i some how bought the biggest pork shoulder ever so i ended up with a lot of carnitas.  but that was okay because it is incredibly versatile and stores well in the freezer.  chris and i ate a lot of the carnitas as tacos.  i just rolled up some carnitas and cheese in a tortilla then packed it with lettuce, salsa, and sour cream.  i love these lunch boxes with the different compartments.

but you can also use the carnitas to make homemade chipotle bowls, quesadillas, taquitos and much more.  sometimes we just ate it with rice and veggies.  having some carnitas stashed away in the freezer was perfect for quick, weeknight meals.

to make this crockpot carnitas, start with a pork shoulder.  the recipe suggests using a boneless pork shoulder but i didn’t find one at the store and didn’t really feel like dealing with the hassle of taking the bone out.  so i just left it in – oh well.  it was fine.  also, like i said i got the biggest pork shoulder ever so it wouldn’t fit in the crockpot with out me cutting it into 2 pieces.

then brown each side of the meat.  this part is important – it really helps with the flavor of the meat so even though it may seem like an extra, unnecessary step please don’t skip it.

but don’t worry about trying to cook it all the way through.  you just want to get some color on the meat.  see here – it’s still plenty pink on the inside.

using a knife, poke holes into the pork

and then insert a sliver of garlic into the hole.  repeat until all of the garlic is evenly dispersed in the pork.

now for the spices – this is the fun stuff!

season the pork shoulder with adobo seasoning, garlic powder, and cumin.  there isn’t an exact amount – just make sure the meat is covered.

pour the chicken broth into the bowl of your crockpot and add the bay leaves and chipotle peppers.  the recipe called for 2-3 but i only added 1.  chris doesn’t like spicy food so i wanted to make sure it was mild enough for us both to enjoy.

put the pork into the crockpot…

cover it and then program it to cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.

here’s what it looks like when the carnitas is done cooking.

take the meat out and allow it to cool slightly.

using a pair of forks, shred the meat.  if the liquid in the crockpot isn’t too fatty/oily you can put the meat back in there.  but there was a lot of fat in mine, so i just put the meat straight into a large container and ziplock bag and then poured on a little bit of the juice into the container/bag.  this helps ensure the meat stays nice and juicy.

for this amazing recipe, please visit skinnytaste.  also, be sure to check out the many other crockpot recipes gina has on her blog.  all of the recipes i’ve made from skinnytaste have been great! (crockpot italian turkey meatballs, crockpot bolognese sauce, and taco turkey chili.)

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