Citrus & Brew Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos

FullSizeRenderThese tacos are good ANYDAY of the week! I love Mexican food and I think its either got a reputation for being too complicated or too simplistic. Well lets meet in the middle and you won’t compromise on flavor or work too hard to get some gourmet tacos at home.

I grew up south of the border so I have been eating Mexican cuisine my whole life and can say that its the food I have experimented & created most in the kitchen & crave especially in the hot climate of SoCal. In this recipe I will share some must have steps and ingredients to perfect your next taco night. Its all about developing flavors and textures to make one DELICIOUS BITE… & another & another.

Traditional carnitas are slow cooked in oil or fat and that is why they are so darn good.

This is a healthier option that I think is very comparable to the real thing.

There are FOUR parts to this recipe. ALL which are important.

  1. The citrus & brew marinated pork
  2. Toppings/prep
  3. Fried Tortillas
  4. Sides


(Recipe yields for 12 servings or 24 tacos)

6 lbs pork loin or boneless pork chops

1 packet taco seasoning mix

4 tablespoons honey or brown sugar

1 can beer

1 orange (fresh squeezed)

6 cloves of garlic minced

1 sweet onion chopped

generous pinch of salt & pepper as it cooks


Separate all ingredients into two zip lock bags and add the the pork. Zip tight and store in fridge overnight.


Line the pork fat side up (for the meat stays moist and more tender) and place the garlic and onions in with the pork.


Add and additional splash of fresh squeezed orange juice.


Cook in slow cooker on high for 5 hours, when tender and cooked through remove some of the liquid and set aside. Next shred the pork and allow to cook in its juices for another hour on low for the meat to absorb. Add saved liquid if needed to keep it juicy. Shred the pork using two forks until pulled apart with the onion as it adds flavor to the pork. Give it a punch with some cayenne pepper, salt and pepper as needed. I also add about a 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce just to give it that extra sweetness and flavor profile. But definitely don’t drench them in bbq sauce or the flavor you have developed maybe lost. Place on warm until ready to serve.

2. Toppings: Get as creative as you want and make it your own! I choose the following…

shredded cabbage

sliced thin- grilled portobello mushrooms

moms quick pickled red onions

queso fresco- crumbled

julienne carrots & cucumber: lemon juice & toasted seseme oil vinigrette with seseme seeds. Toss together and refrigerate a couple hours before using.

salsa verde or mild salsa

cilantro & chives for garnish

3. Tortillas & Sides Don’t skip or overlook the sides! They complement the meal and can be so good on there own.

  • FRY THE CORN TORTILLAS!– I discovered that frying the corn tortillas is what makes these tacos delicious and more authentic. Using a skillet & grape seed oil (this one works well on high heat) heat skillet add two tablespoons of oil and fry the tortilla on each side, turn over after a min or so on each side and place onto paper towel. Repeat for all the tortillas. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! The corn tortilla changes in texture & flavor, it becomes sweeter and more bready to marry well with all the ingredients inside.
  • HEALTHIER MEXICAN RICE. I say healthier simply because I use brown rice. I even used Trader Joes frozen precooked brown rice. Simply in a small pot add two of the freezer brown rice packets, add 6 oz tomato juice, 1/2 cup of chicken broth, 1 cup of frozen peas, & a can of green chilies. Stir together on medium heat until it bubbles and cook on low for about 8-10 min. Warm up and use an  ice cream scoop to plate for a prettier presentation.
  • Black beans. They are not the star of the show but are the supporting side dish you want! Just use 3 cans of organic black beans, drain the cans,  get a medium saucepan, heat on medium heat stirring regularly. When boiled bring down to low and cook until they are starting to fall apart almost melt together. Serve on the side with crumbled queso fresco or shredded cheese. Yum!
  • Grilled corn– using a propane grill, place prepared clean and dry corn onto grill, using olive oil and garlic salt mixed into a bow,  with brush cover corn. Get some grill marks and char on the corn and its ready to serve!2017-05-03_18-25-44_988.jpeg

Serve the sides with avocado slices to separate. Bring all the ingredients together buy building the taco with the shredded cabbage on bottom, carnitas, the juiliene carrots & cucumber, sliced portabello mushroom, pickled red onions, queso fresco & the garnish. Now how can you say that doesn’t make your mouth water? Yumo.

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And in the words of the one and only Ron Swanson, “That would be all, good day.”