My go-to dinner order at any Mexican restaurant is always the Carnitas. So yummy! But getting to eat my favorite carnitas without even leaving the comfort of my own home? My idea of perfection. I am definitely a homebody. Which is exactly why I love making this slow cooker Carnitas Recipe. It’s so easy, too!
All About Carnitas
Carnitas is a Mexican dish that is traditionally made by slowly simmering pork in lard or oil. However, this recipe makes carnitas by cooking the pork shoulder in a slow cooker for 8-10 hours on low heat in citrus juices. Traditionally, carnitas are made from the pork shoulder which is also called pork butt.
I usually like to serve my crockpot carnitas in soft shell flour tortillas with a variety of toppings. However, the opportunities for ways to serve carnitas are endless. You can use pork carnitas as filling for burritos or quesadillas. Or for a gluten-free option, try eating the pork along with rice and beans in a burrito bowl style meal. No flour tortilla = No gluten!
Tools Needed to Make Pork Carnitas
A list of kitchen tools and gadgets you’ll need to create this recipe:
Crock-Pot Pork Carnitas Video
Recipe and Instructions
In a small mixing bowl, combine the chili powder, ground cumin, salt, black pepper, and dried oregano.
Place the pork shoulder roast in a 6-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle half of the seasoning mix over the roast and rub into the pork. Flip the roast over and rub the rest of the seasoning mix into the other side.
On a cutting board, chop the onion, and smash the garlic cloves. Before peeling the garlic, crush with the side of a knife. The skin will easily peel off.
Place the onion and garlic into the slow cooker with the pork shoulder roast.
Juice 2 oranges, and 2 limes.
Pour the fresh-squeezed juice into the slow cooker.
Cook on low for 8 hours.
Using two forks, pull apart the pork. The pork will be tender and fall apart easily.
To make irresistibly crispy carnitas, finish the pork under the broiler! I like to use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the slow cooker to a baking sheet. Place the pork under the broiler for just 2-3 minutes until nice and crispy. Keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn!
Serve your slow cooker carnitas in warm tortillas with cilantro, tomato, radish slices, lime wedges, or avocado. OR – skip the tortillas! Serve in a bowl with rice and beans for a gluten-free carnitas dinner. Top with your choice of a variety of toppings! Lettuce. Salsa. Corn. Fajita Veggies. The list goes on and on.
Pork carnitas also tastes excellent with pico de gallo or guacamole! Make your own with my recipes below!
Perfect Side Dishes
Slow Cooker Carnitas
- Slow Cooker
- 2-3 lbs Pork Shoulder Roast aka Pork Butt
- 1 tbsp Chili Powder
- 2 tsps Ground Cumin
- 2 tsps Dried Oregano
- 2 tsps Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 5-6 cloves Garlic crushed
- 1 medium Onion chopped
- 2 Oranges juiced
- 2 Limes juiced
- In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and black pepper.
- Place the pork shoulder (aka pork butt) in a 6-quart slow cooker. Rub the seasoning mixture all over the pork roast.
- Add in the smashed garlic cloves and chopped onion. Add in the juice of 2 limes and 2 oranges.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on low.
- Using 2 forks, pull apart the pork into small chunks or completely shred.
- Serve as it is, or for crispy pieces, you can broil. To broil the carnitas, place the meat onto a baking sheet with a slotted spoon. Pour a small amount of the sauce on top. Broil for 2-3 minutes. Keep an eye on the meat while broiling at all times to be sure it doesn't burn.
- Serve in tortillas with lime wedges, chopped onions, and a generous amount of cilantro. You can also serve with avocado slices, radish slices, lettuce, sour cream, refried beans, fajita veggies, and/or tomatoes.
Have you tried this recipe?? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a message in the comments below and don’t forget to share this recipe with your friends if you enjoyed it!
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