Easy Crock Pot Carnitas

October 19, 2017

Easy Crock Pot Carnitas

I am embarrassed by how long it took me to post a recipe for carnitas — or “little meats” that are usually braised then roasted — which are as far as I’m concerned the very best thing to pile on a corn tortilla.
To me, they’re the undisputed king of the taco food truck. The Mexican answer to American pulled pork: moist, juicy with a rich and tender texture, and riddled with plenty of well-browned crisp edges.
The only thing greater than my love for carnitas was my wonderment as to how they were made. I imagined that getting a flavor so complex, and a texture so nuanced — tender in the center and crunchy at the edges — was best left to the experts.
That’s why I continued for many happy years to pay a premium price for them, especially in a city where good food can cost the earth.
Man, was I wrong.


Carnitas couldn’t be easier to make, especially with a slow cooker.
Take a pork shoulder, put it in the slow cooker with herbs, spices, and orange juice. Then all that’s left to do is wait and let the Crock pot work its magic.
When it’s done you can shred it, crisp it, and toss it into tacos, tortillas, or just eat with a fork: you’ve got some comidas fit for el rey himself.
Tender, crisp, and juicy meat delicately flavored with a hint of orange, onion, garlic, jalapeno, oregano, and cumin.
All it needs is a squeeze of lime, and some cilantro to form a dish of unrivaled deliciousness.

Easy Crock Pot Carnitas

I still can’t get over how ridiculously easy it is to make. I tell people about this all of the time — not everybody is as impressed as I am: sister who nodded politely; nephew, who thinks it’s cool, but perhaps a little less than I do; the owner of the bodega down the street who heard me talking about them on the phone several times — yes, it’s my fave topic of conversation these days, don’t judge me. I have a canitas fixation, I’m okay with it.

Easy Crock Pot Carnitas

Easy Crock Pot Carnitas                                                                                                                          Print this recipe!

Serves 6

2 lbs / 900 gr boneless pork shoulder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño, seeded and ribs removed, sliced
1 large orange, halved
3 tablespoons vegetable oil


Rinse and pat dry the pork shoulder. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl combine oregano, cumin, and olive oil. Rub all over the pork shoulder.
Place pork in the slow cooker and top with onion, garlic, and jalapeno.
Squeeze the orange halves over the pork and add the two halves to the slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 hours (I recommend the low setting because a slow and low temperature will make the meat more tender and moist.)
Once cooked, remove the pork shoulder from the slow cooker and let cool slightly before pulling apart with two forks.
Heat vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. When sizzling, press the carnitas into the oil and fry until crusty on one side.
Alternatively preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil. Spread the shredded meat on the baking sheet and drizzle with vegetable oil. Broil for 5 to 10 minutes or until you get browned edges on the pork.
Serve over tortillas with cilantro, lime wedges, salsa, and avocado slices if you like.

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 413 calories, 32 grams of fat, 2 grams of carbs, and 29 grams of protein.


  1. Simply delicious....

  2. pinned and saved for later :D

  3. This is in my crockpot right now!!! :-D Thanks for the recipe, Mike!

  4. Fixed this for supper tonight.....don't get lazy (like I get sometimes) and skip crisping up the meat before serving.....OMG! SO easy and delicious!