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Tender, spicy, moist and juicy these Slow Cooker Spicy Pork Carnitas are perfect for the BIG GAME! Place on top of a tortilla with fresh ingredients, piled high on nachos or sandwiched between bread, no matter how you serve them, you’ve got a crowd pleaser perfect for game day, dinner or a fiesta!
Who’s ready for some football? I know we are. We are HUGE football fans in this house and although our beloved team isn’t in the playoffs, we’re still glued to our television ready for game day action. Whether or not your team is playing, football is a social gathering filled with cheering, friends and most importantly food. I love a big game day spread filled with delicious appetizers, main dishes and cute little dessert in the shapes of footballs.
One thing is for sure, playoffs and the big game are always in the winter, so I’m always looking for a warm, comforting dish to keep the crowd full and happy no matter what the weather outside may be doing. I just watched a playoff game this past weekend where the announcer stated the temperature at game time was 0. Yes, that’s a zero. I could barely see the field in between all the hot breath the players were breathing. One thing is for sure, no matter how much of a die-hard Chicago Bears fan I am, you will NEVER see me at a game when the temperature is below freezing. Where you will find me is inside, screaming at the tv and enjoying these slow cooker spicy pork carnitas, in the comfort of my warm house!
As I mentioned we love football around here and we love to host the games at our house and invite all our friends and family over. Being the foodie that I am, I’m always cooking up a spread to feed the hungry crowd. What I really love is to cook something in the slow cooker, that way I can start it in the morning, it’s done by noon game time and it can be kept warm all afternoon. Insert Slow Cooker Spicy Pork Carnitas. They are perfect with minimal effort, they taste delicious and no one will be complaining about eating tacos!
This past weekend was the start of football playoffs and per usual, we were having a few friends come over. I had just recently watched an episode of The Kitchen on Food Network, which is my all time favorite show. those 5 hosts just belong together. Anyways Marcela Valladolid was cooking up pork carnitas and they looked amazing and I thought these would be so perfect to make them for game day and bonus, they’ll feed everyone at the party. As soon as the show ended I headed to Jewel-Osco for all the necessary ingredients. Although Marcela’s recipe didn’t call for spice, we LOVE spicy foods in this family so I headed to the international aisle on a mission to spice up these carnitas. There it was in all it’s spicy, red tomato glory, El Yucateco Red Habanero Hot Sauce. Bingo, I had found my spice for my Slow Cooker Spicy Pork Carnitas. I grabbed the red bottle but also looked over the green habanero bottle and kept that in the back of my mind for future spicy dishes to add a touch more garlic flavor.
After I finished grabbing the rest of my grocery list, I headed home to start the pork. While at the store, I purchased a 6lb pork shoulder but would only be using 2lbs for this recipe, so I cut the pork and stored what I didn’t need in the freezer for another use. I took the 2lbs of pork and cut them into 4 equal pieces, seasoned all sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder and placed them in a nonstick pan placed over medium high heat. I browned the meat on all sides and then placed the meat into the slow cooker.
Next, I added some cola to the pan to scrap up all the brown bits of deliciousness and poured that into the slow cooker. I then added in additional cola, water, some herbs and a good dose of El Yucateco Red Habanero Hot Sauce. I let that cook low and slow for 4 hours.
Can I just tell you my house smelled amazing for all 4 of those hours. My husband wouldn’t stop asking when it would be time to dig in, game time, that’s when! I knew if I let him have a taste before our friends arrived, it would all be gone. The meat was so tender it literally fell apart. I barely had to shred it with two forks that’s how moist and juicy it was.
I charred up some flour tortillas, but corn would also be delicious, sliced some avocado, cut lime wedges, radishes and cilantro to use as additional toppings. When serving, I also set out the bottle of El Yucateco Red Habanero Hot Sauce so our guests could add additional spice if they desired.
Slow Cooker Spicy Pork Carnitas
Tender, spicy, moist and juicy these Slow Cooker Spicy Pork Carnitas are perfect for the BIG GAME! Place on top of a tortilla with fresh ingredients, piled high on nachos or sandwiched between bread, no matter how you serve them, you've got a crowd pleaser perfect for game day, dinner or a fiesta!
- 2lbs of pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 4 equal chunks
- 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 1/2 cups Cola beverage, divided
- 1/4 cup El Yucateco Red Habanero Hot Sauce
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 Sprigs of Tarragon
- 2 Springs fresh Thyme
- 2 Bay Leafs
- For Serving
- tortillas (flour or corn) charred, avocado, radishes, lime wedges, El Yucateco Red Habanero Hot Sauce, cheese, tomatoes
- Season all sides of pork chunks with garlic powder, salt and pepper
- Place in a pan over medium high heat and brown on all sides.
- Place seared pork pieces into slow cooker.
- In the same pan you browned the pork, pour in 1/2 cup cola and scrap up all the browned pieces on the bottom of the pan. Add to slow cooker.
- To slow cooker add the remaining cola, water, hot sauce, tarragon, thyme and bay leafs
- Set slow cooker on low for 4 hours.
- After 4 hours, shred pork.
- For serving
- Top tortillas with pork, squeeze of lime, avocado slices, radish, onions, cilantro and extra hot sauce
Slightly Adapted from Cola Carnitas
My only regret is not cooking all 6lbs! There were no leftovers and I was really looking forward to having carnitas for lunch the next day. These were absolutely delicious. The meat itself wasn’t overly spicy, so don’t worry if you aren’t too big of a fan of spice, it was so flavorful! Then topped with creamy avocado, cilantro, a squeeze of lime and more El Yucateco Red Habanero Hot Sauce, perfection. Let me just tell you that if you serve these slow cooker spicy pork carnitas, you will have football fans at your house all.season.long. People will be begging you for the recipe so they can make them all year long. They are perfect for dinner time as well.
So whether or not your team is playing in the playoffs or in the big game, you’ll score a touchdown with these slow cooker spicy pork carnitas. And if for some reason you aren’t a football fan, do me a favor and make it a Mexican night at your house and serve up these babies, you won’t be sorry!
If you like it hot and flavorful like we do, be sure to check out El Yucateco Gear Store where you can grab some cool gear and wear your love of all things spicy and El Yucateco. I’m going to get myself one of the Ladies Jersery Varsity Embroidered Tees because I think they are so cute and well we love El Yucateco products! I might even gets the hubs the limited edition tailgating shirt for when he attends game in Chicago. What gear would you purchase? Sound off in the comments below!
Although for this recipe, I used El Yucateco Red Habanero Hot Sauce, they have a variety of hot sauces to please any palate ranging from chipotle, sweet heat all the way to XXX hot!
Serve these up with some margaritas, cervezas and/or micheladas and you’ve got yourself one fantastic football party everyone’s sure to enjoy!
What types of spicy dishes do you serve up for game time? Did your team make the playoffs this year?
Enjoy and if you make this recipe, please share a photo on social media and hashtag it #strawberryblondiekitchen I ♥ to see your versions! Happy Eating!