Slow-Cooker Carnitas with Apple-Radish Slaw

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 260 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8

Shredded pork that’s typically used to stuff tortillas, carnitas are made by slowly braising pork shoulder for hours, which makes a slow cooker the perfect tool for preparing this traditional Mexican dish. The apple-radish slaw adds fresh flavor and crunch to what is typically a fairly rich dish.


For the carnitas:

  • 3 lb. (1.5 kg) boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) cubes
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. chili powder (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) chicken broth
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick

For the apple-radish slaw:

  • 1 apple, cored and thinly sliced into matchsticks
  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 cup (1 oz./30 g) fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Warm corn tortillas for serving
  • Sour cream for serving


In a large bowl, combine the pork with the cumin, paprika, chili powder and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Toss to coat the pork.

In a slow cooker with a browning function, warm the oil with the slow cooker set to “brown.” Working in batches, sear the pork, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes per patch. Transfer the pork to a plate. Add the onion to the slow cooker insert and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Return the pork to the slow cooker and add the chicken broth, orange juice and cinnamon stick. Set to slow cook on high heat and cook for 4 hours.

While the pork is cooking, make the apple-radish slaw: In a bowl, combine the apple, radishes and cilantro. Add the lime juice and olive oil and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the pork pieces from the braising liquid and transfer to a large bowl. Using two forks, carefully shred the pork into bite-size pieces. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the braised onions to the bowl with the pork, and add enough of the braising liquid to moisten the pork. Stir to combine.

To serve, pass the tortillas, pork, apple slaw and sour cream at the table for guests to assemble their own tacos. Serves 6 to 8.

Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen

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