Lately, many holidays have been sneaking up and passing me by before I can properly celebrate. Valentine’s Day? Didn’t notice it. St. Paddy’s day? I highly doubt I wore green. I realized it’s because no one is constantly reminding me to celebrate these holidays here in Europe. There are no ads plastered around town, or Valentine’s specials at restaurants, or green beer served at the bars. And I’ve definitely never seen any giant margaritas with an upside down corona.
It just goes to show that American marketing is a pretty crazy, powerful thing. Sometimes I miss the excessive holidays because they were a good excuse to get together with friends while providing a built in theme for the evening. But when it comes down to it, do you really ever need an excuse to get together with friends?
And do you really ever need an excuse to eat Mexican food?
But we are going to celebrate Cinco de Mayo anyways. Mainly because it gives me an excuse to drink margaritas. And what goes best with margaritas?
We might as well make it easy on ourselves since Cinco de Mayo falls on a weeknight. That’s where the slow cooker comes in. Throw a pork shoulder in tonight, and tomorrow you will be serving up slow cooker carnitas tacos for dinner alongside those margs.
Pork shoulder, oregano, cumin, orange, cinnamon, onions, and garlic are the stars of this show.
Time for a taco and margarita fiesta.
- 2 lbs pork shoulder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 medium orange
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 onion, quartered
- 1 hot red pepper, de-stemmed and halved
- Rinse your pork shoulder, pat it dry, and place it in the slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, oregano, cumin, and salt. Spread the mixture all over the pork shoulder. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice of both halves into the slow cooker, making sure to strain out the seeds. Place the orange halves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, onion quarters, garlic cloves, and pepper into the slow cooker with the meat. Turn the slow cooker on low and let it cook for 6-8 hours. At this time, discard the orange peels. Break apart the pork shoulder with two forks and let it cook for 4-12 more hours, depending on how much time you have. I think it tastes best after cooking for a full 24 hours.
- When the pork is ready, discard the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, and garlic. With two forks, shred the pork into bite size pieces. If you like crispy carnitas, then you can fry the pork for a few minutes in olive or vegetable oil on the stovetop, but it's not necessary.
- To assemble the tacos, place two forkfuls into a warm corn tortilla and add your favorite salsa, guacamole, diced onions, cilantro, and a splash of lime juice.