Warm smell of carnitas

When it comes to misheard song lyrics, one of my best faux pas has to be singing along to Hotel California while hungry. The familiar guitar riff intro to the ballad by the Eagles is just simply too enticing not to make you want to sing along.

This particular song always brings me back to my high school water polo days. Every morning before before the crack of dawn, I’d make my way down to the din and musk of the basement weight room, lie down on the floor with my eyes closed waiting for the bright lights and classic rock that signaled the inevitable beginning of our circuit workout. It was always way too early to eat anything before morning training and doing so would have meant risking a technicolor yawn midway through. Partway through the circuit urged on by the music, I start feeling like I’m getting into a nice rhythm and can’t help but belt out:

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of carnitas, rising up through the air…

Slow Cooker Carnitas Al Pastor



  • Pork shoulder(bone in if possible)                     5-6 lb
  • Onion                                                                    1 large, sliced
  • Garlic                                                                    8 cloves, smashed
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Smoked paprika
  • Chipotle chili
  • Cumin
  • Chili powder
  • Coridander
  • Oregano
  • Canned tomatoes with juice                           28 oz
  • Canned pineapple with juice                          20 oz


Add your sliced onion and garlic cloves to the bottom of the slow cooker. Pat your pork shoulder dry with paper towel and trim areas of some excess fat. You may notice that there are no measurements for the spices. This is because I literally try to get a nice even coating on the pork of everything. Rub the pork shoulder with the spice mixture (salt, pepper, smoked paprika, chipotle chili, cumin, chili powder, coriander, dried oregano) and set it on top of the onions and garlic. Pour the canned tomatoes and pineapple around the pork shoulder. Try not to wash off that nice seasoned rub. If you used whole tomatoes, smash and tear them into small pieces by hand. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8.5 hours.

After it’s done, tear up the pork shoulder with two forks. Serve on flour/corn tortilla with garnish of diced onion, cilantro, and green sauce.

This recipe makes a huge portion that is great for dinner parties or you can freeze any leftovers for later.



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