My name is Stacie and I’m in love with my slow cooker. When I first got a slow cooker, oh many years ago, like many people, I thought that it was only good for winter food. While it’s true that the slow cooker is especially adept at making stews, soups and other hearty, winter fare, it’s actually a boon in the warm weather months too. Because no hot stove.
I’ve come to use my slow cooker all year around, but especially in the spring when the weather’s so nice that the boys and I want to stay outside until the last minute and also summer when it’s just too hot to cook. So when I was working on recipes to include in my new cookbook, Make It Easy: 120 Mix-and-Match Recipes to Cook From Scratch with Smart Store-Bought Shortcuts When You Need Them, I knew that I had to include a few great warm-weather slow cooker meals, including these Slow Cooker Carnitas.
Carnitas are a traditional Mexican way of slow cooking pork. The resulting falling-apart meat, super simple and full of flavor, can be eaten any number of ways. My favorite is to serve it taco-bar style with a pile of tortillas, salsa, and of course, guacamole, with a side of easy refried beans (the recipes for all of these things—and store-bought options, too—are in Make It Easy, by the way!). Carnitas are also great with a side of scrambled eggs, added to big salad for a lighter dinner, tucked into a quesadilla, and piled onto a soft roll spread with refried beans and avocado.
Really, the possibilities are endless once the slow cooker is done doing its thing.
Oh, and the best part is that this recipe doesn’t require any prep (no browning the meat—phew!) and calls for only three ingredients other than the pork. Three!
Give this a go once and I’m willing to bet that it will become a go-to dinner all summer long, and probably into fall and winter too. Because once you land on a recipe this simple and delicious, it’s hard not to fall in love with it—and with your slow cooker too.
Slow Cooker Carnitas
From Make It Easy: 120 Mix-and-Match Recipes to Cook from Scratch With Store-Bought Shortcuts When You Need Them by Stacie Billis. Reprinted with permission from Da Capo Lifelong, © 2016. All photos from Make It Easy by Naomi McColloch
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 2 juicy oranges)
2 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
1. Trim the pork of some of the excess fat around the outside, being sure to leave some on to aid in the cooking. Keep in mind that carnitas is pork cooked in its own fat, so you don’t want to get rid of it all. Cut into 2-inch-thick strips.
2. Put the meat in a slow cooker along with the orange juice, salt, and bay leaf. Toss to coat the meat with the juice, cover, and cook on low for 8 hours.
3. When the cooking is done, use two forks to shred the pork. Serve immediately or allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Visit the other sneak peek recipes from Make It Easy by Stacie Billis
* Hummingbird Muffins: An easy make-ahead snack that turns a classic cake into something you can eat everyday.
* Steak with Sweet and Sour Peppers: The ultimate simple, decadent dinner perfect for the long weekend, Father’s Day—or whenever you and the family need a treat.
* Cold Soba Noodle Salad: An awesome, family-friendly meatless meal that’s entirely make-ahead. Major score.
I’m a subscriber. I’m excited to try this because I love using my slow cooker: it’s so easy but makes delicious food.
What’s not to love about carnitas? Delish! And using the slow cooker means no overheating the kitchen with the oven on already-hot days! Can’t wait to mix up a pitcher of mom-aritas & try these!
Already following email via jslbrown2009 at aol dot com
I am excited to try the recipe since everyone in this household likes slow cooked pork.
Thanks for the chance 🙂
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Subscribed to newsletter. This sounds like a great meal to make when it is hot outside.
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Im a subscriber, and I have shared this website with so many of my friends and co-workers, and they all instantly go “Cool! That looks awesome!” every time. I cant wait to try these carnitas!
I’m a subscriber. I can’t wait to try this and lots of EASY recipes with my kids this summer. I’m making them each cook one meal a week (with supervision) so that they can get familiar with the kitchen! <3
I am already a subscriber, and I cannot wait to try this carnitas recipe!!
I am a subscriber. Excited to try this because with 3 kids I’m always looking for a quick way to make a meal.. Especially one that can be prepared ahead of time.
I’m already a subscriber and I’m excited to try this recipe because I love carnitas AND using my slow cooker!
I am a subscriber because you have the BEST advice and tips and I love all your shopping recommendations!!
I love the pod cast also!!!
I’m already a subscriber! I’m excited about this recipe because it’s sounds awesome and it practically cooks itself!
i’m a subscriber! love pork carnitas!
Visiting the in laws and just offered to make dinner! Way to help me impress! Will definitely help spread the word on other social media! Rebecca Czarniecki
I’m a subscriber and follow on all social channels! 🙂
Already a subscriber to Cool Mom Eats. Carnitas are easy and delicious! Already following on FB too!
I’m a subscriber. I’m excited about this recipe because I love finding new recipes to use in the slow cooker. I also like the ideas of other ways to use carnita meat, like in a quesadilla or with scrambled eggs.
Go Target!!! Help me out. Love to have a Target gift card, it would put a slow cooker on my counter top. STOP me from turning on the oven during these hot months. Love Cool MOM Picks. As a single mother of twins, time is precious and I could use all the help I can get.
I am a subscriber. I am excited to try this recipe because I am always looking for great recipes for my slow cooker and carnitas is one of my husbands favorites.
Already a subscriber and these meals make life easier!
I’m a subscriber and this full time working mamma is always looking for home cooked weeknight recipes. 8 hours in a slow cooker…..awesome!
I am a subscriber and this pork recipe sounds so simple and delicious.
I am a subscriber. I am excited to try the Carnitas because it is one of my favorite dishes at my local Mexican restaurant.
I am a subscriber and am excited about this recipe. I love carnitas and adore cooking with a slow-cooker, particularly during our HOT Arizona summers. I use the slow-cooker outdoors to keep the heat out of the house.
I’m a subscriber and I’d like to test this recipe b/c I need some new slow cooker meal ideas!
I’m already a subscriber. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe because my slow cooker helps me make healthy, delicious food during the work week. Plus, as Texans we love tacos!
I subscribe–lucky me. I am looking forward to trying this recipe because I love the ease of using my slow cooker AND I have been looking for a good carnitas recipe. Thank you.
i am already a subscriber! i love the weekly meals with recipes and this one i will try b/c its less than 5 ingredients!