Skinny Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas: lean pork cooked in your slow cooker with onion, garlic, jalapeno, and lots of spices. Then the pork is crisped up on the stove top in a little olive oil creating maximum flavor for tacos, salads, burritos, nachos and enchiladas.
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Skinny Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
I’ve seen a lot of crockpot pork carnitas recipes floating around the internet. And the “proper” way to make pork carnitas involves a pork shoulder or pork butt. Don’t get me wrong I love me some pulled pork with pork shoulder. It’s juicy and tender and delicious. But sometimes I get a little nervous of pork shoulder because it has a lot of fat on it and they are sold in a huge huge huge amounts. I wanted to try to make carnitas with a leaner cut of pork. I used a 3 1/2 lb pork loin roast that I found at Smith’s for about $1.59 per pound.
I placed the roast on top of some thick onion slices in the bottom of my slow cooker and let the pork cook with garlic, jalapeno, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin and some bay leaf. I let it cook on low for about 6 hours. Now it’s not going to be totally fall apart tender like a pork shoulder would be after 12 hours in the slow cooker but it will still be good, I promise. I shredded up the meat and added in a can of green chiles, some lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Now you’ll take a few bites and think “this is pretty good.” But don’t serve it up just yet. You’re going to get a big frying pan out and heat up just a bit of olive oil. Then you’ll put the shredded pork in the pan and just slightly crisp it up. I like to press down hard on the meat and let it get brown–but just on one side. This adds SO much flavor. I couldn’t believe how much better it tasted. After you’ve used your trusty frying pan you’ll return the meat to the juices in the slow cooker and then serve up the meat. There are so many ways to use skinny slow cooker pork carnitas! Tacos, burritos, enchiladas, salads, quesadillas, nachos etc.! I can’t wait to make this again. We all loved it!
Other Slow Cooker Pork Recipes
Pork Gyros with Yogurt Cucumber Sauce
Moroccan Pulled Pork from Bev Cooks
BBQ Pork Chops and Potatoes from The Magical Slow Cooker
Chinese Pulled Pork from Simply Recipes
What Slow Cooker Did You Use?
For this recipe I used my Kitchenaid 6-Quart Slow Cooker. I prefer this slow cooker over almost every other slow cooker because it cooks evenly and low. It also has a medium setting as well as the normal low and high settings that other slow cookers have.
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Skinny Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 6 hours
- Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
- Yield: 12 servings 1x
Lean pork cooked in your slow cooker with onion, garlic, jalapeno, and lots of spices. Then the pork is crisped up on the stove top in a little olive oil creating maximum flavor for tacos, salads, burritos, nachos and enchiladas.
- 1 large onion
- 3 1/2 lbs pork loin
- 6 peeled garlic cloves
- 1 jalapeno
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 bay leaf
- 4 oz diced green chiles
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Cut the onion into thick 1/2 inch slices and place the round onion slices on the bottom of your 6 quart slow cooker.
- Place the pork on top of the onion slices.
- Cut 6 half inch slits in the top of the pork and place the garlic cloves into the slits.
- Cut the jalapeno in half and remove the seeds and white pith. Dice the jalapeno very finely. Sprinkle over the pork.
- Sprinkle the pork with 1 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Sprinkle with the oregano and cumin. Top the pork with the bay leaves.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for about 6-8 hours. Remove the pork and place on a cutting board.
- Discard the bay leaves and shred the pork. Place shredded pork back into the slow cooker and stir in diced green chiles and lime juice. Salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large frying pan heat up the olive oil over medium heat. Place pork into the frying pan (you may need to do this in batches). Press the pork down hard until one side is crisp and brown. Place pork back into the slow cooker and stir in with juices.
- Serve the pork in salads, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, etc.
I used my 6 quart slow cooker for this recipe.
It was excellent. Next time will cut the roast in half before cooking. Served it with warmed flour and corn tortillas and topped with cilantro, pickled onions, sliced radishes, diced avocado, salsa, sour cream and Queso Fresco. Mexican rice made in the Instant Pot rounded out the meal.
Additional comment. Instead of browning in a skillet, placed carnitas in a pan lined with foil and broiled on high for 2 minutes on each side. Sprinkled with some of the liquid in the slow cooker over the top.
wow all those toppings and the rice sound so amazing. your family is so lucky!
I just made this and it was amazing! I could only find a 3 lb loin roast but other than that, I made no changes! So good. Next time I would do smaller batches in the skillet and get them browner but it was still my boyfriend’s favorite recipe I’ve ever cooked! We had the carnitas on tacos with guac, salsa, cheese, lettuce, and tomato!
I just love this recipe too Ellen!Glad it worked out for you 🙂