No. 286: Slow Cooker Carnitas

Sunday was busy.

Dogs had to be groomed, we had a serious house to-do list on our plates and there was quite a bit of basketball to watch.

WAY TO GO, WICHITA STATE!! (Sorry, I couldn't keep that bottled up inside).

Anywho, in those busy Sunday situations, it's all about the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Carnitas


2-3 pounds of boneless pork loin
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoons oregano
1/2 tablespoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Pinch of ground cloves
1 bay leaf
1 6 ounce can of pineapple juice

*Since our loin was 3 1/2 pounds I added about a 1/2-3/4 cup of orange juice for some extra cooking liquid. It was the perfect amount.

To make

Mix the seasonings together and cover all sides of the pork loin with the mix.

Place the pork in the slow cooker, with the fattier side up (if there is one). Place bay leaf on top and pour pineapple juice on and around pork.

Ready to cook

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours (if loins is frozen to start, add an hour to cook time).

Finished cooking

When done cooking, remove the bay leaf, shred the pork, mix with juices and serve.

If you're going the taco route, serve in warm tortillas with shredded cabbage, cilantro, lettuce, tomato or avocado.

The results

These carnitas were moist and lovely, but lacking a flavor punch that I was hoping for. Luckily, the taco toppings took the meat from average to good (man, some avocado would have been awesome).

Final plate

If you're going to make this recipe, or slow cooker carnitas in general, I'd highly suggest dicing up an onion to go in with the pork. Even better, mince a couple garlic cloves and a jalapeno to throw in.

Not a taco fan? Not to worry! You can serve this a few fun ways:

  • With crusty bread to sop up the juices or as a sandwich
  • Over lettuce for a salad
  • Over rice for something even more hearty
  • Throw a few forkfuls in your scrambled eggs
  • Make a homemade burrito bowl with rice, lettuce, beans, cheese and fajita peppers


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Amelia McCormick

Kansas girl transplanted to Asheville, North Carolina. Smiler, lover of great food and wine, facilitator, runner, storyteller, wife, optimist, and mother of sweet twins:)

Asheville, North Carolina