As a college student living off campus, sometimes it's difficult to cook a meal more complex than a box of Easy Mac. You need to account for the time it takes to prepare, the cost of the ingredients, the clean up after the meal is done—it all seems like too much effort with not enough reward. 

However, when you want to put slightly more effort into your dinner than boiling water or popping a frozen entrée in the microwave, a Crock-Pot is your best friend. 

These carnitas are perfect to cook ahead and reheat throughout the week, or you can invite all of your friends over for a BYOM (Bring Your Own Margarita) taco night. Either way, you'll have made something delicious without having spent the whole day sweating over a hot stove and filling your sink with dirty dishes.

Crock-Pot Carnitas

  • Prep Time:20 mins
  • Cook Time:4 hrs
  • Total Time:4 hrs 20 mins
  • Servings:6
  • Easy


  • 3 pounds pork butt shoulder
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 large orange
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick broken into pieces
  • Kosher salt
Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 1

    If you bought your pork butt whole, cut it off the bone and remove most of the fat cap (you want some fat, but the fat marbled within the meat and just a thin layer on the top of the shoulder will be sufficient). Proceed to cut the pork into roughly 1 1/2 inch cubes and place in Crock-Pot.

    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 2

    Cut onion and orange into quarters and split garlic cloves with the heel of a large knife. Squeeze the juice of the citrus over the meat and then nestle the juiced pieces, onion quarters, garlic, bay leaves, and cinnamon stick pieces into the slow cooker. Season liberally with salt and pour vegetable oil over all ingredients.

    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 3

    Cover and cook on high for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until meat is fork tender.

    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 4

    Remove pork from Crock-Pot and set aside, discarding all seasoning elements. Take liquid that has cooked off and pour into a transparent container to sit and allow fats to separate out.

    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 5

    Shred pork and place in an oven safe pan, then skim the layer of fat off of the cooking liquid and add it back to the pork pieces. Don't skip this step in an attempt to cut calories! The fat not only adds flavor and moisture back to the meat, it is essential to the final step in preparing the carnitas.

    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 6

    Place shredded pork under a high broiler, allowing the top of the carnitas to crisp and brown. Stir the carnitas around a few times so that all sides are exposed to the heat of the broiler

    Tatum Kenrick
  • Step 7

    Serve hot. My preferred preparation is in a classic Mexican street taco: warmed double corn tortillas topped with plenty of carnitas, diced onions, and cilantro, and finished with a squeeze of lime.

    Tatum Kenrick

Whether you're cooking for a crowd or just for yourself, these Crock Pot Carnitas will help you change up your dinner routine with ease.