You guys, I’m experiencing a whirlwind of emotions right now: on one hand, these spicy slow cooker pork carnitas are literally peak taco Tuesday. Hands down. Ever. It’s the taco meat that dreams are made of. On the other hand, my beloved crockpot officially died. Taylor didn’t go for my idea of a formal burial and funeral in the backyard. I guess you can’t win ’em all. I suppose it’s time to unwrap the Instant Pot I bought myself on Black Friday this year since it has a slow cooking function. It was also hinted to me that if I’m nice maybe Santa will bring me a new one. Thanks Tay 😉
Also, it’s been grey and dreary and cold for weeks and I’m recovering from strep throat. It’s just been so blah and I feel so blah and it’s too dark outside to take pretty food pictures and WAH.
Okay really though, enough complaining, so back to the best tacos I’ve ever had in my life. I think I’ve officially perfected the spice rub and cooking liquid for spicy shredded pork or beef.
Spicy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
The Spice Rub
Coat the pork/beef (4-5lbs) GENEROUSLY with a mix of salt, pepper, brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and oregano. And by generously I mean once it’s coated just dump the rest of the heavenly mixture in the crockpot. It’s all good.
Crockpot Flavor Town
Using a skinny knife, stab the pork making 8 big slits, and stick 8 cloves of garlic in them.
Add some red onion…
Then, make the cooking liquid: hot salsa, a little chicken broth, chipotles in adobo, and some white vinegar.
Dump it all over the pork and top with a bay leaf. Now cook low and slow for 8 hours.
It’s going to look amazing when you take the lid off.
When you move the pork out of the slow cooker to try and shred it, it will fall apart on you. That’s goals right there. Shred the pork with two forks, and drizzle some of the cooking liquid on there for more flavor.
So you’re going to spread out the shredded pork on a baking sheet, and broil it on HI in the oven for 7 minutes until it starts to crisp up.
- 4-5 lb pork shoulder, (aka Boston Butt)
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp pepper
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
- 8 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 red onion, peeled and quartered
- 4 chipotle peppers in adobo
- ½ cup chicken stock
- ⅓ cup hot salsa/ pico de gallo
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 bay leaf
- For serving: tortillas, shredded cheese, lettuce, cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, etc.
- Make the spice rub: in a small bowl combine salt, pepper, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine, and rub generously all over the pork shoulder.
- Place the pork shoulder in the bottom of a slow cooker, adding any leftover spice rub right in.
- Make 8 slits in the pork with a knife, and push a garlic clove into each one.
- Nestle the onion quarters around the pork.
- Make the cooking liquid: in a blender or food processor combine 4 chipotles in adobo, chicken stock, salsa and vinegar. Pour the liquid over the pork. Top with a bay leaf.
- Cook on "low" heat for 8 hours or "high" heat for 4 hours.
- When the pork is done, transfer the pork to a bowl and shred with two forks. Add a few large spoonfuls of cooking liquid to flavor all the pork shreds.
- Spread the shredded pork evenly on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, and broil in the oven on "hi" for 7 minutes until the edges of the pork get black and crispy.
- Serve the shredded pork carnitas in warmed tortillas with all your favorite toppings.