Slow cooker carnitas tacos!!
Tacos constitute a main food group in this household. No joke. Fish, chicken, steak, pork, shrimp, roasted chickpeas. You name it–we have taco’d it. Often. You would think that with how often we have tacos at home, we would never go out for tacos. But we do that too. (FYI: My top tacos-in-Denver award goes to Uno Mas, but David would probably give a slight edge to Torchy’s…)
“I say taco, they say taco.”
“Taco, taco, taco!”
(If you’re a 90’s kid, then maybe . . . just maybe . . . you speak my language.)
We have been making a concerted effort to eat out less. Last month at work was INSANE, and we decided the delivery guys from Little India and Patxi’s Pizza were probably tired of our five flights of stairs and being accosted by a large white ball of fur at the door.
Slow cooker carnitas tacos are the quick, easy, and DELICIOUS solution to this goal. Crock pot. No extra cooking when I get home from work. And this cilantro-lime sauce? My favorite. It goes on tacos. Nachos. Huevos rancheros, apparently! Due to too much gilmore girls-binge watching, I was behind on my weekend allotment of work and had to work straight through dinner. David–being my knight in shining armor–took up the apron. He is one of those types of cooks that can always gather the remnants of the fridge and make something spectacular. Always.
So out he comes with a sweet potato, bacon, and garlic hash with a perfectly fried egg and leftover cilantro-lime sauce. A pseudo-huevos rancheros. I don’t know why I’m the one with a food blog. That hash was a James Beard Award-winning dinner, so I promise it will make an appearance on the blog some day . . .
Optional Taco Toppings:
- sour cream or greek yogurt
- lime juice
30 minPrep Time
6 hrCook Time
6 hr, 30 Total Time
- 3-4 lb pork shoulder (bone-in or bone-out works)
- 1 Tablespoon oil
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons lime juice
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- dashes of salt, pepper, cumin, garlic powder, and chili powder
- corn or flour tortillas
- purple cabbage
- Use kitchen shears to cut the pork shoulder into fist-sized chunks. (If using a bone-in shoulder, you can remove the bone.) Sprinkle meat with a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Brown the outside of the pork shoulder chunks for about 2 minutes per side and drop into the crock pot.
- Use a fork to smush together the spice rub ingredients into a nice paste. Rub paste all over browned pork chunks.
- Add chopped onion to crock pot.
- Stir together orange juice, lime juice, and bay leaf. Pour softly over pork chunks in the crock pot without disturbing the spice rub.
- Cook pork on high 5-6 hours or low 8-10 hours.
- Remove pork chunks from crock pot to plate and shred, using forks.
- Remove 1 cup of liquid from the crock pot and set aside. Dump shredded pork back into the crock pot. Cook for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven broiler.
- Grease a cookie sheet. Spoon pork out onto cookie sheet, spreading out into even layer. Broil for 10-15 minutes. Watch carefully! You want to start getting crispy pieces on top, but you don't want to burn anything! As soon as you start seeing/feeling crispy pieces, pull the pan out. Ladle 1/2 to 1 cup of the cooking liquid over the pork, depending on how wet it already is. (This will vary depending on how much liquid the pork released while cooking.) You want the pork to be moist, but not soup-y. Discard any unused liquid. Serve from the pan!
- For the cilantro-lime sauce, blend the greek yogurt, lime juice, cilantro, and spices in a ninja or vitamix. Add lime juice if necessary to achieve a pourable consistency.