Watch how to make carnitas in a slow cooker

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If you crave the tastiest enchiladas, tamales, and burritos, then you need to get your carnitas recipe nailed.  Translating as 'little meats,' this aromatic and addictively spiced dish will transform your Mexican food into an authentic feast.  Don't be tempted to use a leaner cut of pork for this recipe; the long cooking time means that you need those rich seams of shoulder fat to keep the meat truly succulent throughout the process.   
This is a slow cooker's comfort zone; turning a joint of meat and a handful of spices into something so tender you can almost eat it with a spoon. But put that spoon down if you can, use the shredded meat for your favorite Mexican recipe, and wait for the cries of 'exquisito!'
This recipe is a healthier version of traditional carnitas. Rather than slow cooking in complete lard with traditional flavors, we omit the lard and just cook the fat already on the pork shoulder.
Cooktop Cove
15 minutes
6 hours
6 hours 15 minutes
3 pounds pork butt or shoulder (it's the same thing) cut into 3" pieces
3 Mexican cinnamon sticks (can sub with regular, but Mexican is better for taste)
2 oranges, zested and juiced
4 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
⅓ cup of milk
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
In a 6-quart slow cooker, add in all the ingredients. Mix well. Be sure to keep cinnamon and bay leaves at the bottom of the pot, submerged in the liquid.
Cook on low for 6 hours.
Serve with Mexican rice and tortillas or use for tacos!
It would be a crime to waste those meaty, spicy juices left in the slow cooker, so use some to moisten the meat before serving. Or how about using it as a soup base and serving with a cup of cooked rice and a handful of freshly chopped coriander in each bowl?  
However you choose to enjoy it, this 'little meat' definitely packs one heck of a big flavor! 
Note: All slow cookers are a little bit different in temperature and calibration. This recipe was tested in Cooktop Cove's Test Kitchen using this slow cooker, which is available for purchase here.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which help support our website.
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