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I’m Andrea. I like to cook and bake and take photographs and write about life. Welcome to Bella Eats, where I share these passions of mine with you. I’m glad you’re here.

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slow-cooked carnitas tacos

There is something about summertime that leaves me craving tacos.  I have no idea where this comes from, but the combination of fresh tortillas, pulled meat, avocado, and salsa does not leave my brain from mid-May through early September.  Sure, I'd consume tacos any time of the year, but during these summer months I could eat them every single week. Also, we have a thing for pork in this household. Whether it be bacon, or pulled bbq, or thick bone-in chops...I dare say that pork is our favorite meat. So combine tacos with pork and you'll find a very happy Andrea chowing down, claiming 'this is the best meal, ever'. Not only because I love that particular combination of flavors, but because slow-cooked carnitas tacos are easy, and don't heat up my kitchen, and make enough quantity to have leftovers for a couple of days. On these brutally hot Virginia summer evenings that is EXACTLY the kind of recipe to do a little food dance for.

We made these tacos for Tommy + Kristin's baby party a couple of months ago (and, btw, Olive has arrived!). Ever since I've been craving them, talking about making carnitas tacos each week following.  We finally picked up a beautiful pork shoulder (or butt...boston butt that is...I know, its confusing) from Belmont Butchery last week, and there was no way that carnitas weren't happening after 3 months of thinking about them. And oh, were they good. SO good, that I think they'll have to happen again soon. Maybe next week, even...

These tortillas came from La Michoacana.  C-villians...if you haven't been there yet, GO. Right NOW. Everybody else, see if you can find fresh tortillas for your carnitas tacos, they will make all the difference.

Slow-Cooked Carnitas

serves 8 (about 32 small tacos)

  • (1) 6 pound bone-in pork butt (also called pork shoulder)
  • 2 tbsp coarse salt
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 8 whole cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4 chipotle peppers (canned, in adobo sauce)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup orange juice
  1. Trim the excess fat from the meat and discard.  Place all ingredients in your slow-cooker and set to LOW.  Cook for 8 hours.  Meat is done when it literally falls off of the bone. When it is cool enough to handle, lift the meat from the juices and place on a large platter or cutting board. Remove the bone and shred the meat to bite-size pieces.
  2. Skim the fat from the juices and keep as a medium for re-heating the meat.  To reheat, place carnitas in a baking dish and pour juices over top. Cover with foil and re-heat in oven.  The juices are also really delicious as a sauce over the carnitas.  It will be spicier than the meat itself, so be careful to taste-test.
  3. For tacos, serve with small corn tortillas, sour cream, lime, avocado, fresh salsa, and queso fresco.

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Reader Comments (15)

Andrea, those tacos look seriously good. The pictures are just amazing.

07.12.2011 | Unregistered CommenterWhitney

Gorgeous photos! Tacos are one of the few things I rarely make at home, but these photos were so inspirational, maybe I'll try 'em this weekend!

07.13.2011 | Unregistered CommenterDiana

Delicious - I would stuff that taco full of cilantro as well. I can't believe you had the patience to cook the pork for 8 hrs!

07.13.2011 | Unregistered Commenterrooth

These tacos look awesome. Tacos is a firm favorite in our house as they are so very versatile.

07.14.2011 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Butterfield

Those look so delicious! There is a little place near me that serves tacos for brunch and that is what I always get. Soo good.

07.15.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

I made these yesterday (let the pork cook while I was at work, it actually cooked for 12 hours, but was just fine!)... These are one of the best things I have made in ages!!! Five Stars!!! Fantastic and easy, you can't beat that!

07.19.2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

These look incredible!!! That pork looks melt in your mouth good.

07.19.2011 | Unregistered Commenterclaire

I love tacos. Aside from it's so easy to prepare, it’s also very healthy. Just perfect match for my
diet .

07.20.2011 | Unregistered Commenterdiet pills

That looks sooo delicious! I love tacos!! Thanks for sharing! I’m new to blogging and love that there is a foodie community! If you have time, please check out my blog: http://shecooksandheeats.wordpress.com/. And of course! Any advice would be great

07.20.2011 | Unregistered Commenterkat

Mmmmmm, so good. I made these on Sunday and have been eating the yummy leftovers for the last few days. I could not find a bone in pork shoulder so had to use one without but the flavor was de-lish. Loved that it cooked all day and was ready for dinner. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

07.26.2011 | Unregistered CommenterNiki

Hey Andrea,

Just made these incredible carnita tacos for my husband and I for dinner. OMG, wow were they delicious. Just used a boneless pork roast and followed your recipe except I added a cabbage slaw and we thought we were in a mexican restaurant. Thank you for a recipe we will have again and again.

01.28.2012 | Unregistered CommenterBeth R.

Holy Taco! This is getting me so hungry. This will be great for snacks at work! Especially that I'm on a diet. The ingredients seems fresh and healthy indeed.

04.16.2012 | Unregistered CommenterDiets that work

I have made this recipe three times now and with a few adjustments, it is perfect! I used a boneless Boston Butt because that is all I can find at the store. To save me time in the morning before work, I prepared the meat the night before by cutting off most of the fat and using the spices as a rub on the meat. Then I let it sit in the fridge overnight. The next morning, I just plopped it in the crockpot with the chipotle peppers, tomatoes, and orange juice and left for work. Ten hours later, it was the best pork I have ever had!

04.27.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

where is the crunchy brown exterior where all the lovely flavor from the rendered fat resides?

06.27.2012 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Hey! Great you can make carnitas on your own. Here in Mx I usually go to "mercados sobre ruedas" like markets that are in one street on thursdays and in another one in fridays and so on, to have them. You usually eat them not with chopped tomatoe but with a green sauce made with green tomatoes, green chilis, onions, and coriander. (everything into the blender, and then cook it in a pan). Give it a try this way! :D

08.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterOrquidea

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