Carnitas Bowls


Whenever I need a crowd-pleaser, Carnitas Bowls are one of my top go to recipes!  That being said, we are mid-week through a family vacation in Mexico.  It started with a continuation of my birthday and is ending with my brother’s wedding.  All in all, not a bad week.  Needless to say, my love of Mexican cuisine is in over-drive at the moment.  I can’t wait to get home and get back into the kitchen with some new recipes I’ve learned.  Along the way, I did a Mexican cooking class and learned about a few amazing new peppers.  I may have perfected my guacamole recipe as well, so stay tuned!

I cook a lot of Mexican inspired dishes at our house.  Although my husband is Greek and Spanish and I am half Kiwi and half a bunch of other stuff, living in California, you can’t pass it up.  It’s always readily available and it’s always delicious.  The freshness, the flavors and so many dishes are so easy to prepare family style.  Perfect for entertaining or serving a large group.  Another reason I love Carnitas Bowls for serving a crowd is that you can put out a bunch of toppings, so everyone can build their own and everyone is happy!  As I love to elevate everyday recipes, it’s just like Chipotle, only better!

Carnitas Bowls

Carnitas Bowls are perfect to serve for a crowd, everyone builds their own and everyone is Chipotle, only better!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs
Total Time 6 hrs 15 mins
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 peole


  • 1 5 lb. pork shoulder
  • Pork Rub Dry
  • 1 Yellow Onion sliced
  • 1 Jalepeno minced
  • 10 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 1 cup Orange Juice
  • 1 Red Onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 5 Black Peppercorns
  • 1 cup Warm Water
  • 2 cups Jasmine Rice
  • Cotija Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro topping
  • Salsa topping
  • 1/2 cup EVOO for frying corn tortillas, if desired
  • 6 Corn Tortillas topping


  • Start with a bone in or boneless pork shoulder and cover generously with your favorite rub. Place in a crock pot, add sliced yellow onions, diced jalepeno, garlic, orange juice and kosher salt. Cover and cook 6 hours on high or 8-10 hours on low temp. About half way through, flip the pork and continue cooking.
  • While pork is cooking, prepare the pickled onions. The vinegar in the onions adds a nice contrast to the pork and provides a little crunch without being overpowering. Slice the onions and place in a glass bowl or jar (no metal). Combine the apple cider vinegar, warm water, sugar, black peppercorns and kosher salt in a bowl and stir to combine until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour over the onions and store at room temp for at least an hour If you have leftovers, store them in the fridge, they make a great topping for a salad or sandwich as well. I used a large mason jar to pickle them and then to store in the fridge.
  • Cook the Jasmine rice and keep warm until ready to serve.
  • Remove pork from cooing liquid and reserve to top over the carnitas once shredded. Carefully remove fat cap and using 2 forks, shred carnitas, pulling out as much fat as possible to discard. Pork a few ladles of the cooking liquid over the top. Cover to keep warm until ready to serve.
  • As another topping option, add EVOO to a pan, slice some corn tortillas in thin strips and fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt while still hot. Usually, I have to keep my hungry kids from eating these while I'm finishing dinner!
  • To serve, add a scoop of rice to the bottom of each bowl, place everything out family style and let everyone build their own carnitas bowls! Serve with optional toppings of fresh cilantro, pickled onions, salsa, cotija cheese and corn tortilla strips.

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