View of a sheet pan containing slow cooked carnitas
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Slow Cooker Carnitas (Pork Carnitas)

This Slow Cooker Carnitas are easy to make, flavorful, juicy and tender with well browned crispy edges. As delicious as authentic Mexican Carnitas minus the lard! Cooked in the crock pot with spices, garlic, onions and citrus juice resulting in a dish everyone would love. Perfect for tacos, burritos, salads and tortas.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Crock Pot Carnitas, Slow Cooker Carnitas
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 10 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 191kcal
Author Kathy McDaniel

Ingredients

  • 4 - 5 pounds bone-in pork butt or shoulder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, black pepper and salt. 
  • Mix the orange juice, lime juice and liquid smoke in a small bowl. 
  • Rinse and dry the pork and rub it with the spice mixture. Place the pork in a slow cooker, fat cap up. Top with the chopped onions, jalapenos and garlic. Add the juice/liquid smoke mixture.
  • Cook on low for 8 - 10 hours or on high for 5 - 6 hours or until the pork is tender and falling off the bone.
  • Remove the pork from the slow cooker and let it cool slightly. Shred it using two forks.
  • Skim off some of the fat from the juices in the slow cooker. Place the shredded pork back in the slow cooker and toss to combine.

To Crisp the Pork in the Oven (see note 1)

  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Preheat the broiler to high and place the oven rack about 12 inches from the heat source.
  • Place the shredded pork in an even layer on the baking sheets - drizzle the pork with some of the juices - you want to have some moisture - about 3 tablespoons is good. Broil for about 5 - 8 minutes or until desired crispiness. Keep an eye on it! You want the meat golden brown with some crispy edges without burning.

To Crisp the Pork on the Stove Top

  • Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil in a non stick skillet or in a cast iron skillet over high heat. Add the shredded pork into the pan and add about 1/4 cup of the cooking juices. Let the juices evaporate. Toss and remove from the heat. You want to have crispy bits on one side of the meat only. 

To Serve

  • You can drizzle the crispy pork with extra cooking juices if desired. It can be served with tortillas and/or rice.

Notes

  • Note 1: Crisp up the pork in batches without over crowding the pan. I usually have 2 sheet pans going - one after the other - and repeat the process until all the pork is crispy (usually takes me 4 rounds total).

Nutrition

Calories: 191kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 322mg | Potassium: 481mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 165IU | Vitamin C: 21.7mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 2.1mg