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Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas With Cilantro Rice

Melissa is a certified food scientist with over 20 years in the food industry. New food development and matching are her specialties.

Tasty Carnitas

Over rice is just one way to serve this traditional pork dish.

Over rice is just one way to serve this traditional pork dish.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

8 hours

8 hours 10 min

6 servings


  • 3 lb pork shoulder roast, boneless
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, whole
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 tsp dried cumin
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1–2 oranges, juice and discard remainder
  • cilantro rice, (see below)
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Let's Go

  1. Rub the pork roast with oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper. Place the roast in the Crock-Pot. (I recommend using a plastic Crock-Pot liner for easy cleaning) Add the remainder of ingredients and cook for at least 6 hours on low. (If you are in a hurry you can cook 4 hours on high)
  2. Remove the meat and onions from the Crock-Pot. Pour the liquid into a large skillet and heat over medium to reduce(simmer slowly to remove water) to about 1 cup of drippings. While your juices reduce shred the pork/onion mixture.
  3. Reserve the juice in another container and return the skillet to the stove. Heat to high. Add the pork and press into the pan with a spatula. Leave for a few minutes to allow caramelization/browning, then turn over and repeat. You are building the crispy brown flavor bits on the meat that separates this dish from other slow cooker meals. This step is crucial, and what sets this recipe apart. You can apply this method to other fatty meats that are cooked on low, moist heat until they fall apart.
  4. When the meat is sufficiently browned add the juice back to the skillet and leave on low to serve in tacos or with sides. (Cilantro rice)

Cilantro Rice

  1. Heat a 2 qt saucepan to medium-high.
  2. Add 1 Tbsp salted butter. When melted, add 1 cup of long grain rice and 2 cloves of finely minced garlic.
  3. Saute the rice and garlic for 3–4 minutes.
  4. This will develop a nuttier flavor and help keep the rice from overcooking or becoming sticky.
  5. Add 2 cups of vegetable stock (or water). Lower heat and simmer for 18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  6. Turn off the heat and add the juice of one lime and 1/2 cup chopped cilantro. Stir and serve.

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© 2016 Melissa Holton

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