With Cinco de Mayo upon us, Mexican food is top of mind now, but it’s also definitely a go-to delicious meal anytime. This easy carnitas recipe by Twin Cities chef and cookbook author Robin Asbell, which she created for Real Food, is versatile, too, as you can maximize your time and make two different meals from one. Use the slow cooker or the oven for savory Pork Carnitas, and then serve the meat in tacos one night and use the meat in hearty Carnitas Hash with Potatoes and Eggs for breakfast or brunch later. To cut kitchen time in the morning, make sure to thaw the frozen hash browns in the refrigerator overnight.
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos with Salsa
Makes about 5 Packed Cups Pulled Pork, about 4 Servings Tacos Plus 4 Servings Hash
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 (4-pound bone-in or 3-pound boneless) pork shoulder roast
1 large orange, quartered
1 large lime, quartered
For the Salsa
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1 large jalapeño, diced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 large scallions, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
For the Tacos
8 taco shells or soft corn tortillas
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- In a cup, mix the garlic, cumin, oregano and salt.
- Trim extra fat layer from the roast, if desired. Place the roast in a 4- or 6-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the roast, then turn the roast over and spice the bottom. Rub the coating around to get the whole roast covered. Place the orange and lime quarters on top of and around the roast, then cover tightly. Cook on Low heat for 8 hours or High for 5. (To bake in the oven, see the Cook’s Note.)
- When the pork is tender, take out to cool, placing the meat and fruit in a large bowl and pouring the liquids into a 4-cup measure or medium bowl. Chill the juices until the fat hardens.
- Pull the pork from the bones, shredding it into bite-sized pieces and placing it in a large bowl, discarding the bones and gristle. Gently squeeze the oranges and limes to release their liquid into the bowl before discarding. Take the reserved juices out of the refrigerator and remove the fat and discard (unless you want to use it for cooking). Transfer the jellied juices in the bottom to the pulled pork and toss to mix.
- For the tacos: Make the salsa by placing the tomatoes, jalapeño, cilantro and scallion in a medium bowl. Add salt and toss to mix.
- Warm the carnitas in the microwave on High for 2 minutes per cup or oven at 300°F, covered, about 20 minutes time.
- To warm soft corn tortillas, place 6 on a plate, cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds at a time until they are warmed through. To warm hard shells, unwrap and place on a plate, fanned slightly, and microwave on High for 45 seconds.
- Serve about ¼ cup meat per taco. Put shredded cheese and lettuce in bowls and set out the salsa for each diner to add toppings as desired.
• To bake the pork roast in the oven, set the oven to 300°F. Place a 2-foot long piece of foil on a sheet pan, then place the roast on the foil and rub with the spice mixture. Cover with orange and lime quarters. Wrap the foil around the roast and seal the foil by crimping the edges. Bake until the meat is falling-apart tender, about 4 to 5 hours.
• If you wanted to switch to burritos for dinner, just get large flour tortillas, put ¼ cup of the meat reserved for tacos into each one and pile with shredded lettuce, salsa and, if you want, jack cheese.
• Try stirring the cooked pork into canned tomato soup as you heat it up on the stove for a heartier soup.
Carnitas-Potato Hash with Egg
Makes 4 servings
The cooked pulled pork from your Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos makes quick work of breakfast or brunch.
1 pound frozen hash browns (about 5 cups), thawed
1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more as needed
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 large red jalapeños, seeded and slivered
2 cups fresh spinach
2 cups cooked and shredded pork (from Carnitas Taco dinner)
4 large eggs
- Thaw the shredded potatoes overnight in the refrigerator.
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle in the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the onion and red jalapeños and stir, reducing the heat to medium when it starts to sizzle. Stir frequently for 5 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and let cook for about 1 minute at a time, turning with a metal spatula, for about 4 minutes. Add the spinach and pork and stir until the spinach just wilts. Using the back of a spoon, form four hollows in the potato mixture and crack an egg into each one. Cover the pan and cook for 4 minutes for eggs with runny yolks, or longer if you want a firmer yolk. Serve about 2 cups of hash and 1 egg on each plate.
Nutrition info (per serving)
• Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos: Calories 1008; Fat 44g (Sat. 17g); Chol 130mg; Sodium 1660mg; Carb 98g; Fiber 11g; Added Sugars 1g; Protein 56g
• Carnitas-Potato Hash with Egg: Calories 605; Fat 29g (Sat. 9g); Chol 291mg; Sodium 469mg; Carb 40g; Fiber 6g; Added Sugars 0g; Protein 45g
Margaritas to Pair
Cinco de Mayo calls for Margaritas! Check out these ideas I have highlighted:
Margarita Recipe Roundup: Celebrate with the ever-popular classic formula and delicious twists
Jimmy Buffett’s Margarita: You don’t really need an occasion to enjoy a Margarita, do you? Mix it up with the recipe for Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville definitive house Margarita—plus a guacamole recipe.