Slow Cooker Carnitas is crispy, juicy, flavorful, and such a breeze to make! This version of Mexican pulled pork has no added fat/lard and can be used in a variety of dishes.
If you’re looking to have tacos on Tuesday, make these Slow Cooker Carnitas! This meat is incredibly delicious and always a hit. Serve it with a side of Homemade Refried Beans and Spanish Rice (Mexican Rice).
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
I am a big fan of slow cooker meals. They’re easy, pretty hands off, and produce the most juicy, flavorful, fall-apart tender meat. These Slow Cooker Carnitas are just that!
Ingredients for Carnitas Meat:
- Onion– This adds so much flavor. I love using sweet onions.
- Brown Sugar– Light or dark works in this recipe.
- Garlic– Since you’ll be blending anyway, no need to dirty your garlic press. Just peel and throw the whole cloves in.
- Jalapenos– For a mild level of heat, remove seeds and vein.
- Vinegar– This give flavor as well as tenderizes tough cuts of meat.
- Salt– Don’t skimp on the salt. The recipe calls for the minimum. Feel free to add more to your liking.
- Chili Powder, Oregano, Cumin– These are my staple spice/herb trilogy for Mexican cooking. They make everything taste amazing!
- Pork Roast– A pork butt or pork shoulder works great.
- Lime– Squeeze on some fresh lime juice and serve with additional wedges. This brightens up the dish and adds a little sweetness.
How to make Carnitas:
Time needed: 8 hours and 10 minutes
- Make Sauce
Place onion, brown sugar, garlic, jalapenos, vinegar, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and salt in a blender and puree. (Add 2-4 tablespoons water if need to get things moving in the blender.)
Place the pork in the bottom of a 6 quart slow cooker. Pour the mixture over the pork, tucking it under any folds. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours until fork tender.
- Shred & Crisp
Remove pork from slow cooker (do NOT Discard the liquid!) and shred (discard any large pieces of fat). Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking oil. Spread the shredded meat out on the pan and pour about 1 cup of the cooking juices over the meat. Broil for 5-10 minutes until browned and crispy on the edges.
- Garnish & Serve
Place pork on a platter and squeeze with fresh lime juice. Enjoy in tacos with desired toppings.
“Carnitas” means “little meats” in Spanish. It is a Mexican pulled pork dish made using an inexpensive pork roast (pork shoulder, Boston Butt). This heavily marbled pork is cooked for several hours creating a tender, juicy, and easy to shred roast.
Pork Butt (aka “Boston Butt”) or Pork Shoulder (aka “picnic shoulder” or “picnic roast”) can be used for this recipe. Pork Butt has better marbling throughout so it is preferred.
This meat can be used in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, or just on it’s own. We typically enjoy it in corn tortillas with cilantro, queso fresco, and pickled red onion.
If you have a lot of leftovers but want to enjoy it in a different way, this meat is actually really yummy with barbecue sauce for pulled pork sandwiches.
TOOLS USED TO MAKE SLOW COOKER CARNITAS:
- Slow Cooker– This is very similar to the one I use but it has the addition of a lockable lid which is awesome for when you are transporting food for a party or potluck, especially soup.
- Half-Sheet Pan– I LOVE these pans. I’ve had the same 4 pans since I got married (10 years ago) and they are in great condition. I use them all the time for sheet cakes, cookies, roasting vegetables, baking chicken…
- Wolf Gourmet Blender– This blender is amazing! It’s a powerhouse that can blend anything. I love it and use it for everything from smoothies, to soups, to dressings.
- KitchenAid Blender– If you’re not ready to commit to a high power blender, this one is great! This one served me well in making smoothies and pureeing soups and sauces for 8 years.
LOOKING FOR MORE MEXICAN MEAT? CHECK OUT THESE:
- Cafe Rio Sweet Pork
- 3-Ingredient Salsa Chicken Tacos
- Chili Verde Pork
- Chipotle Pork Tacos
- Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa
Slow Cooker Carnitas
- 1 yellow or sweet onion, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 jalapenos, stem cut off, roughly cut
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 5-7 pound pork butt or shoulder
- limes, cut into wedges
- Place 1 onion, 1/2 c. brown sugar, 4 cloves garlic, 2 jalapenos, 2 Tbsp. vinegar, 2 Tbsp. chili powder, 1 Tbsp. salt, 2 tsp. cumin, and 1 tsp. oregano in a blender and puree. (Add 2-4 tablespoons water if need to get things moving in the blender.)
- Place the pork in the bottom of a 6 quart slow cooker. Pour the mixture over the pork, tucking it under any folds. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours until fork tender.
- Remove pork from slow cooker (do NOT Discard the liquid!) and shred (remove any large pieces of fat).
- Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking oil. Spread the shredded meat out on the pan and pour about 1 cup of the cooking juices over the meat. Broil for 5-10 minutes until browned and crispy on the edges.
- Place pork on a platter and squeeze with fresh lime juice. Enjoy in tacos with desired toppings.