These Carnitas Sliders with Mexican Street Corn (esquites), caramelized onions, and cheese will be a hit at any party! The Carnitas is easily made in the crock pot or slow cooker!
All you’ll be left with is an empty tray and a bunch of happy people!
These are great for game day eats! Just imagine these on a Super Bowl Party spread, and you know that they’ll be a hit!
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Happy Tailgating Snacks Month!
As October nears to a close, and I look back on another fun and delicious tailgating snacks month.
I hope you had as much fun with this month’s recipes as I did.
I got to share a couple of them at parties with friends. And, I got to play around in the kitchen with this new one!
Looking for more great party food?
Check out these delicious game day recipes: Baked ham and cheese sliders, Pulled pork sliders, and all my Game Day recipes!
This recipe is a little bit of work to prep, but so worth it!
And, most of this can be done ahead of time.
My husband will make a big batch of carnitas in the slow cooker (crock pot).
He’ll often buy an inexpensive and large piece of pork, making this a really budget-friendly recipe to make.
How to make these Sliders
Can the carnitas be made in the pressure cooker?
He’s also started experimenting with the Instant Pot or pressure cooker for the pork, and it seems to be working well.
I think the pressure cooker is a great tool for cooking large cuts of meat.
For an electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot), you’ll want to cook it at least 1 ½ hours on high, then let the pressure release naturally. Check for desired doneness.
Crisping the carnitas
The more spread out they are on the tray under the broiler, the faster they will crisp up, and the more tasty crispy browned bits you’ll get.
The carnitas recipe makes way more than you’ll need for the sliders, so these sliders are a great way to use the carnitas in a different way, other than just tacos!
Carnitas also freeze well.
Since it makes a nice big batch, we always save some. Take about ¾ of the cooked pork (before crisping it in the broiler), divide them into smaller bathes, place them in Tupperware containers, and pop them into the freezer.
Then, once you’re ready to eat them, simply take them out of the freezer and into the fridge to defrost.
Mexican Street Corn (Esquites)
We first came up with these sliders by wanting to make a Mexican fusion street corn slider recipe using my Mexican Street Corn recipe.
If you want to read more about esquites, including my tips and tricks for the recipe, hop over and take a look at the recipe.
Recipe testing attempts
We tried to make a vegetarian slider, but in the end, I’m really happy with going with a meaty recipe for these sliders.
With some of the leftovers, I tried making a vegetarian slider using soy crumbles instead of carnitas.
But, somehow, it just seemed like it was missing something. And, it was super messy to eat.
Kitchen items you may need for this recipe:
Slow cooker (Crock-Pot)
Pressure cooker (Instant-Pot)
Disposable aluminum trays
Cast iron skillet
Rimmed baking tray
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Carnitas Sliders Recipe
- 8 pounds bone in pork shoulder also called pork picnic shoulder
- Juice from 4 oranges
- 2 yellow onions chopped
- 1 jalapeno deseeded, chopped
- 8 cloves garlic pressed
Mexican Street Corn:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces frozen yellow corn
- 1 ½ tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 1 ½ ounces Cotija cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion sliced
- 9 dinner rolls sliced in half separating the top and bottom. (If they are attached to each other, you don’t need to separate each roll).
- 1 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon dried minced onion
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
Make the carnitas:
- In a small bowl, combine all rub ingredients: 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper, 2 tablespoons dried oregano, 2 tablespoons ground cumin, and 2 tablespoons olive oil.1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper, 2 tablespoons dried oregano, 2 tablespoons ground cumin, 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Rinse the pork with clean cold tap water, and pat dry with paper towels.8 pounds bone in pork shoulder
- Rub the rub spice mixture all over the pork, and place the spice rubbed pork, fat side up, in the slow cooker.
- Turn the crock-pot on high, and start chopping and adding the veggies as you chop them. Add the orange juice, chopped onion, jalapeno, and garlic. Place the lid on the slow cooker once all the ingredients have been added.Juice from 4 oranges, 2 yellow onions, 1 jalapeno, 8 cloves garlic
- Slow Cook on high for about 8 hours. Start checking it after 5 hours. Check for doneness by pulling on the bone with a pair of tongs, when it’s done the bone will easily slide out.
- Remove the cooked pork from the slow cooker, allow to cool slightly, and shred using two forks. The juices remaining in the slow cooker can be discarded.
- You’ll need about 3 cups of the cooked carnitas for the sliders. The final step in making the carnitas will be to crisp them up under the broiler. Those instructions are later on the recipe card, so they will be nice and hot and crispy in the sliders.
Make Mexican Street Corn:
- Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn and let cook until the corn starts to char, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.2 tablespoons olive oil, 8 ounces frozen yellow corn
- While the corn cooks, mix the dressing together in a large bowl: mayonnaise, sour cream, Cotija cheese, cilantro, lime juice, red onion, garlic, and chili powder.1 ½ tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon sour cream, 1 ½ ounces Cotija cheese, 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion, 1 clove garlic minced, ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- When the corn is done cooking, fold it into the dressing. Set Mexican Street Corn aside while preparing the rest of the sliders.
Caramelize the onion:
- Wipe out the skillet from any cooked bits from making the corn, and heat 1 teaspoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the sliced onion, and cook, stirring often. Allow onion to brown, adding a little water to the skillet if the onion starts to cook too quickly. Once the onion is nicely browned and caramelized, remove it from the skillet.1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 small yellow onion
Make the spiced butter:
- Soften the 5 tablespoons butter in a microwave for about 20-30 seconds. Mix in 1 teaspoon dried minced onion, 1 teaspoon chili powder, and ½ teaspoon ground cumin. Set aside.5 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon dried minced onion, 1 teaspoon chili powder, ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- Crisp up the carnitas:
- Place about 3 cups of carnitas in a single layer spreading it out as much as you can, on a foil lined rimmed tray, and place under a medium heat (about 450° F) broiler for 4-7 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on them while they broil, as they can go from crispy to burned in a moment. You want browned crispy looking edges.
Assemble the sliders:
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Place the bottom of the cut rolls in a disposable aluminum pan. Brush the inside of the rolls with about 2 tablespoons of the spiced butter.9 dinner rolls
- Spread about 3 cups of the crisp carnitas over the rolls. Top with Mexican Street Corn. Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded pepperjack cheese over the top of the Corn.1 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
- Spread the caramelized onion over the top of the cheese, and top with the bread halves.
- Smear the remaining spiced butter over the top of the rolls. Bake in 350° F oven for about 10 minutes, or until butter has melted in, tops are browned, and cheese is bubbling.
- Serve warm.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.
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Loved these little sliders! That corn salsa really made it – perfect for fun food, these were the first thing gone on the buffet!
These sliders are amazing! I served them as a tailgating dish and snuck a few off the tray before setting them out. We enjoyed them for lunch with a cup of soup the next day. Next time I’m making two pans!
I was looking for a WOWZA appetizer to bring to a friend hosting a football party and this DID not disappoint!! So delicious, full of flavor and filling!
This is such a great game day recipe! Everyone absolutely loved it!
I made these with a batch of carnitas that I had in the freezer and WOW! I didn’t think my hubby’s carnitas could get any better but WOW!
Best. Sliders. Ever. These were seriously so delicious and so full of flavor! I LOVE how they turned out and all my friends raved about them. Thanks for sharing!