I’ve made pork carnitas before, but I wanted to spice things up a little for this new small batch spicy pork carnitas recipe! I used pork loin boneless blade roast for this batch of carnitas, which is richer in fat compared to other pork roast cuts. The extra fat provides a more flavorful spicy pork carnitas, and the extra spices add a huge kick of flavor.
There is cumin, smoked paprika, Mexican oregano, cayenne, salt, and pepper in these carnitas. Plus onion, jalapeño, and fresh garlic. It’s a literal flavor bomb – and I absolutely cannot get enough of it.
First, I cover all sides of the pork in olive oil. The olive oil adds a luxurious mouth feel to the carnitas, and an entirely new level of flavor and feel.
Next, I add 1/2 tsp. each of salt and pepper to the surface of the pork loin, because as we sear it, I want those seasonings to stick and start to develop flavor with the pork. Because this cut of pork has more fat, it doesn’t necessarily need much liquid to cook properly. However, I still find that I enjoy the flavors of the orange juice and the light lager with carnitas.
You want it to develop a browned and crispy exterior before you coat it in the other seasonings. This helps with the flavor, and trust me, you do not want to skip this step. Browning the pork also helps render the fat, which a.) develops even more flavor and b.) makes your end product less flabby.
Finally, you’ll coat the entire browned pork with the rest of the spices. Whisk the spices together in a small bowl, then use a spoon to sprinkle them onto the pork, and press them in. Feel free to pour in any excess olive oil / spices from the plate directly into the slow cooker, too.
Once you place the pork into the slow cooker (I love using this little one for my small batch recipes, by the way), add the fresh garlic, jalapeño, onion, orange juice, and beer. Use an entire orange – the sweetness does so much to help balance the spices and the heat. SO worth it. I’m telling you, seriously, this thing is a freaking flavor bomb.
Cover and cook on high for an hour. Turn down to low for three hours, or until it’s easy to shred the pork in the slow cooker. Once it’s shredded, leave the shreds in the juice and allow them to marinate for at least thirty minutes on low.
To top it all off, put a sauté pan over high heat. Use tongs to grab shredded pork from the slow cooker, let it drip off the extra juice, and then add it to the hot pan. It will crisp up the pork and add another level of texture.
*heaven* Use these carnitas for rice bowls, burritos, tacos, tostadas, or literally whatever strikes your fancy. I can’t wait to hear what you think!
small batch spicy pork carnitas
- 3/4 lb. pork loin boneless blade roast
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. mexican oregano
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. finely ground sea salt, divided
- 1 tsp. cracked black pepper, divided
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne
- 1 Tbsp. garlic finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. fresh jalapeno finely chopped
- 1/2 cup white onion finely chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/2 cup beer lighter lager preferred
- Set a small slow cooker on high heat. Rinse the pork loin blade roast and pat dry. Pour olive oil over the pork, and rub the oil into all sides. Allow it to rest with the olive oil for five minutes, then season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 pepper on both sides.
- Heat a small medium pan to medium-high heat. Sear the pork on all sides to get a crispy, brown exterior; about three minutes per side.
- Remove the pork from the heat, and set it aside. In a small mixing bowl, combine all of the other spices, and the other 1/2 tsp. each of salt and pepper.
- Smother all sides of the pork loin in the spice mix, then place the pork loin into your slow cooker.
- Add the jalapeno, garlic, white onion, beer, and orange juice to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for one hour, then turn to low for three hours. (Or until pork is easy to shred).
- Shred the pork inside the slow cooker. Let it rest, uncovered, for thirty minutes inside the slow cooker.
- Add the pork to a hot sauté pan over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes per side, until crispy. Serve with cooked rice as a side, or in a taco. Top with desired toppings, and definitely some creamy tex-mex sauce.