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Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Carnitas
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
9 hrs
 
My family loves pulled pork, this Carnitas recipe is always a hit in our household. It combines the perfect amount of heat with a just a hint of sweet. Scoop it into tacos with all your favourite toppings. Taco night has never been easier.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 8
Author: Kim Beaulieu
Ingredients
  • 3.5 pounds pork shoulder also known as pork butt, or blade roast
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces of Coke use water if watching your sugar consumption
  • 8 ounces of water
  • 2 oranges halved
  • 2 limes halved
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Taco Toppings:
  • 1 packages of corn or flour, tortillas
  • 1 to 2 to matoes cut into small chunks
  • ½ red onion diced
  • ½ bunch of green onions diced
  • Avocado sliced thinly
  • Fresh cilantro to taste
  • Optional:
  • Salsa
  • Lettuce
Instructions
  1. Remove pork shoulder from fridge. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl combine the brown sugar, ancho chile pepper, smoked paprika, coarse salt, white pepper, dried cilantro, cumin, coriander, and red pepper flakes. Mix well so all the spices combine thoroughly. Carefully rub the entire pork shoulder with the spice rub, making sure to coat all the sides.
  3. Place the pork shoulder in you slow cooker.
  4. Pour the Coke and water around the side of the roast, but not over top of it.
  5. Cut the oranges in half, squeeze the juice out over the roast. Place the pieces inside the slow cooker.
  6. Cut the limes in half, squeeze the juice out over the roast. Place the pieces inside the slow cooker.
  7. Place the garlic cloves in the liquid as well.
  8. Cover and cook for 9 to 10 hours, you want the meat to be moist, and to pull apart easily.
  9. Transfer the meat to a cutting board and pull it apart with two forks.
  10. Place the meat in a large frying pan with a touch of olive oil. Cook over medium-high heat for about 3 to 5 minutes. I find adding just a touch of brown sugar helps to caramelize quickly. The key to great carnitas is having the meat be moist, but the edges crispy. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.
  11. To make Tacos:
  12. Cut up all the toppings ahead of time, with the exception of the avocado. Do that at the last minute so it does not brown before serving.
  13. Heat the tortillas by placing them in a frying pan, one at a time, flipping so you warm each side. Alternately you can warm them in the microwave all at once for about 30 to 45 seconds.
  14. Top each tortilla with meat and toppings of your choice.
  15. Serve with a big old sweet and spicy smile!
Recipe Notes

The spice rub helps the outside of the roast get a nice bark to it, it won’t be as crisp as smoking the pork but it works great for slow cooking.
You do not have to heat the meat in a pan, but personally I think Carnitas need that crispy edge. It’s worth the few minutes it takes to do it.
You can also use the meat for making sandwiches. Personally for Carnitas we like making tacos with them.
If you want to cut the sugar content of this recipe omit the Coke and use water, or vegetable broth. We enjoy the sweetness from it; it’s a nice counter balance to the spice and acid from the citrus.