You know the feeling. You’re in the car on the way home from work and you start thinking about dinner… and how the thought of cooking a meal from scratch sounds like too much work. And there’s the Chipotle you are just about to pass by and wouldn’t that be so much easier than cooking something at home tonight…
Not if you have carnitas cooking in your slow cooker, just waiting for you to arrive home and assemble the most delicious tacos you have ever had in a mere 15 minutes! Healthier, tastier, cheaper, and much more satisfying than picking up Chipotle. Trust me.
Not a whole lot is better than a homemade carnitas taco, my friends. Not. A whole. Lot.
Confession time. There was a time when Zach and I first started dating that we ate out a lot. Nope. That’s an understatement. It was like every night. No joke. We had lots of excuses for our all-too-typical 20-something millennial behavior. Roommates with whom we shared the kitchen and didn’t want to disturb. We were tired and hungry and needed food NOW. We were in love and wanted to go on a bazillion dates. But most of all, we were working our butts off teaching long hours and didn’t know how to balance that with healthy home cooking.
We’ve come a long way, which is why I started this blog! To share with YOU, all you busy, hard-working people!
Back to the tacos.
Juicy and flavorful pulled pork is cooked in the slow cooker all day with jalapeno, onion, orange, and spices. When you get home, just remove the meat from the slow cooker and pull apart with two forks (this will be extremely easy, as the meat will be extremely tender from slow cooking all day).
Then comes the best part.
The pork is fried until the outsides are crispy, then piled high on a toasted corn tortilla with delicious fixings (I used avocado, sour cream, finely diced onions, cilantro, and hot sauce).
Thank goodness I made a ton of this (and I mean a TON. I have enough for two more meals in my freezer!*)
Now. If you want to, you can skip the frying part and simply have the pulled pork topped with the fixings in a taco (um, or in a salad? or in a burrito? OR IN A QUESADILLA?!). It will be extremely delicious, albeit less authentic. Alas, sometimes you must forego authenticity for convenience. Such a struggle.
*I made a 6 lb pork shoulder because frankly, that was the smallest my grocery store had! This made enough for 3 meals for four people (8 tacos/meal). To freeze the leftovers, put the pulled pork in an airtight container and cover with the juices from the slow cooker (there will be a lot of them!). When ready to eat, defrost and drain the liquid.
Slow Cooker Carnitas (pulled pork) Tacos
For the carnitas:
- Pat the pork shoulder dry with a paper towel.
- Mix together the cumin (1 tablespoon), oregano (1 tablespoon), cayenne pepper (1/2 teaspoon), salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
- Rub pork with olive oil until coated, then rub the spice mixture all over the pork. Place in slow cooker.
- Mix together the onion, jalapeño, minced garlic, and orange zest. Spread on top of the pork.
- Squeeze the orange juice on top of the pork and place the orange rinds in the slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
- When the pork is done cooking, take the meat out (careful- it will be very tender and will tend to fall apart!) and place on a large platter or dish. Pull meat apart with two forks.
- Heat the 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet and fry the pork until crispy.
- Meanwhile, toast corn tortillas over gas burners, in the oven, or in a skillet. Or, just microwave them for a few seconds to soften.
- Add pork to the tortillas and top with fixings.