Flavourful, healthy, and packed with veggies, these Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Burrito Bowls are a scrumptious dinner. Instant Pot cooking method also included.
Pork carnitas are a slow cooked pork shoulder in citrus and herbaceous notes that get pulled and placed in an oven to crisp up. Yes, it is a 2 step process, but the crispy pork bits are hard to beat and add another textural element to the dish.
Pork carnitas can be be served with burrito tortillas, made into tacos, served with rice (as shown above), or used to load up a salad for office lunches. The versatility is there and generally speaking, cooking up a pork shoulder will make for a few meals in a row, making it easy to alternate between different options of final dishes with pork carnitas being the star.
I built a burrito bowl recipe up with rice, some fresh vegetables, and a Pineapple-Cucumber Salsa. I’ve mentioned this salsa over in a post on Peaks and Harbours (now defunct), but have yet to put it down in writing.
I originally made it for my husband’s birthday party where we roasted a whole pig and put out this salsa, some BBQ sauce and buns (read: the easiest large group meal ever).
A number of guests commented on how much they loved the salsa and I’ve been wanting to share it with you since. This salsa would also be epically good with these Slow Cooker Chicken Tanga Tacos if chicken is more your thing.
The land of all knowing, aka the internet, tells me that burrito means “little donkey” in Spanish . I didn’t think it was possible, but I have even more love for burritos since learning this. Donkeys are like the horses that never could. It’s been a fabulous, but long weekend away in Whistler where my toddlers failed to sleep through the night until the last night we were there, leaving me severely sleep deprived, but you know, still in good spirits since I wasn’t at home severely sleep deprived trapped in the house. Now, if I had these Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Burrito Bowls for supper there’d be much less angst from me as this little donkey bowl is one dreamy piece.
This dish is a family meal win. Pulled meat is always a great way to make dinner desirable for the littles, and adding a fruit based salsa totally made my kids day.
Kids aren’t into a crazy good bowl of rice and crispy pork carnitas? Mix it up and serve these Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas in corn or flour tortillas for a great taco meal.
What cut of meat is used for pork carnitas? Pork carnitas are essentially a version of pulled pork and pulled pork needs a pork shoulder (also known as pork butt) to be able to be pulled apart (tender) and remaining juicy.
Mouthwatering Pork Carnitas built up into a delicious burrito bowl.
- 3-4 lbs boneless pork shoulder*
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 2 small tomatoes (on-the-vine preferred) chopped into smaller pieces
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cups orange juice, or juice from 2 oranges
- 3 medium limes, juiced
- 1/2 pineapple, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 medium long English cucumber, finely chopped
- 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 medium jalapeño, chopped (seeds removed to reduce spice level), optional
- 1 pinch fine sea salt (or more to taste)
- 4 cups cooked rice*
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes or chunky salsa
- 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 medium avocado, sliced
- 1 cup guacamole
In a small bowl combine kosher salt, chili powder, oregano, and cumin. Rub all over pork shoulder and place in slow cooker.
Add garlic, tomatoes, stock, orange juice, and lime juice to slow cooker.
Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
Remove pork from slow cooker and shred (pull apart) with 2 forks or hands. Remove and discard any large pieces of fat.
Place meat back into slow cooker with juices and mix to combine.
Preheat oven broiler. Place meat onto a foil lined baking sheet (some juices will remain in Slow Cooker and can be discarded) and place under broiler until pork begins to crisp and top starts to brown further, about 5-10 minutes.
Cut pork into 4-6 smaller pieces (about 4" wide each).
In a small bowl combine kosher salt, chili powder, oregano, and cumin. Rub all over pork shoulder.
Add garlic, tomatoes, stock, orange juice, and lime juice to Instant Pot.
Add seasoned pork to instant pot (trivet not required).
Close Instant Pot, seal valve, and cook at HIGH PRESSURE for 22 minutes. Allow for natural release.
Carefully open lid to Instant Pot once valve has dropped naturally and lid is unlocked. Remove pork from slow cooker and shred (pull apart) with 2 forks or hands. Remove and discard any large pieces of fat.
Place meat back into Instant Pot with juices and mix to combine.
Preheat oven broiler. Place meat (some juices will remain in Instant Pot) onto a foil lined baking sheet and place under broiler until pork begins to crisp and top starts to brown further, about 5-10 minutes.
Combine pineapple, cucumber, red onion, cilantro and jalapeño in a bowl. Season lightly with salt and toss to combine.
Place rice, salsa and pork carnitas in a bowl. Top with any desired option garnishes.
* Pork shoulder is also sold as pork butt. Both cuts are from the shoulder of pork and cook in the same fashion.
** White or brown rice will work in this recipe.
*** The nutritional values provided are based and inclusive of all ingredients ... they are not entirely accurate since a lot of the meat juices are discarded and the optional garnishes may not be used.