Sunday, November 13, 2011

{Healthy!} Oven Crisped Slow-Cooker Carnitas

Pin It Now! I know "healthy carnitas" seems like an oxymoron, but hear me out.  Carnitas - literally translated "little meats" -  is a braised pork shoulder that is shredded and then fried in lard until the top is crispy.  I'd rather not feed my hubby a plate full of lard, so I had to come up with a more health conscious method.

Thanks to my beloved crock pot, putting this together literally took five minutes.  Several hours later the meat was fork tender and easy to shred, so dinner was a snap!  I didn't measure my spices, so I'd guess that I used about 2 tsp of cumin and coriander. 

Slow Cooker Carnitas
1 4-lb pork shoulder
ground cumin
ground coriander
salt & pepper
cinnamon (about 1 tsp)
cayenne pepper (about 1 tsp)
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped
2-3 bay leaves
1-2 c chicken broth

Let the pork come to room temperature for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle the cumin, coriander, salt, pepper, cinnamon and cayenne pepper on all surfaces of the meat.  Pour about 2 inches of broth in the crock pot and carefully lay the pork shoulder in.  Toss in the garlic, onions and bay leaves.  Cook on high for 6-7 hours, turning the meat halfway through.

Once the meat is cooked, place it in a 9x13 baking pan (or on a baking sheet) and shred with two forks.  Spread the meat out in an even layer and crisp in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.  Spoon some of the cooking liquid over the meat when it comes out of the oven and squeeze half of a lime over the whole pan.  Serve in burritos, burrito bowls, tacos, nachos... whatever you like!  We made burrito bowls with cilantro rice and pico de gallo.  Enjoy!

Sous chef :)

Next Day Update
Round Two: Breakfast for dinner...  carnitas hash!  Top skillet potatoes with carnitas and fried egg.  YUMM!



  1. I'm drooling - and we just had dinner here! Good job, Sweetie! Looks amazing!!!

  2. did you use 2 tsp EACH of cumin and coriander? or like 1 tsp of cumin and 1 tsp of coriander for a total of 2 tsp?

    1. Hi there! I used approx two teaspoons each of cumin and coriander. It will depend on the size of the pork shoulder you buy and your taste/preference. For a 4-lb pork shoulder the 2 tsp each gives it a subtle flavor. To flavor the meat more strongly, allow the spices to sit on the room temp meat for about 30 minutes-1 hr prior to cooking.
      Thanks for stopping by! Let me know how yours turns out! :)


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