(Photo by Melissa Elsmo/Eats Editor).

It might feel like a heroic feat to pull off a fiesta on a busy Thursday night, but this version of classic carnitas ensures victory by making use of a handy slow cooker. 

Simply slap the meat in your slow cooker in the morning and let it simmer low and slow all day.  The divine perfume of oranges, limes, cinnamon and onion will greet you when you return home and the tender pork will fall off the bone and shred with ease.  A quick sizzle in a hot pan creates the crispy edges pork carnitas are prized for without keeping you stuck at the stove for hours. 

Toss the meat over beans and rice, sandwich it on a fresh telera roll, or use this glistening pork as a filling for some fiesta worthy tacos.  Any way you serve them, these cheater’s pork carnitas will make for some fiesta worthy fare.

Cheater’s Crock Pot Carnitas

For the Pork:

  • 1 5-pound pork shoulder roast
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 orange (unpeeled), cut into large chunks
  • 2 limes (unpeeled), cut into chunks
  • 10 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 large sweet onion diced
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ Cup canola oil for frying.
(Photo by Melissa Elsmo/Eats Editor)

For the Tacos:

  • Small corn tortillas, warmed
  • Orange segments
  • Diced red pepper
  • Sliced jalapeno
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sliced Scallion 
  • Thinly sliced red onion tossed with orange juice and oregano
  • Crumbled queso fresco

Combine the salt, pepper, cumin and oregano in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the roast. Place the seasoned pork roast, fat side up, in a 6-8 quart slow cooker. Nestle the orange, lime, garlic, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks around the roast. Sprinkle the onion over the roast. Cover and cook on low setting for 8-9 hours.  

Carefully remove the roast from the pot. Remove the bone and discard any bay leaves, cinnamon sticks or citrus chunks from the roast.  Shred the meat with two forks; it will already be falling apart. Toss the brown sugar with the meat. Strain the cooking liquid from the pot and skim the fat from the broth and discard.

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Fry up to 75% of the shredded pork in the hot oil until crispy and brown, but still tender in the middle.  Do not over crowd the pan; cook in batches as needed. Toss the crispy pork with the reserved pulled pork and moisten as desired with the de-fatted cooking liquid.

Serve the carnitas on the warmed tortillas garnished with the oranges, red pepper, jalapeno, cilantro.

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