June 20, 2016
The juiciest, most flavorful pork carnitas tacos made in the slow cooker is what you’ll get with this drool-worthy recipe.
The slow cooker creates tender, flavorful pork you can load into a tortilla and top with guacamole, Pico de Gallo, and a squeeze of fresh lime- it’s perfection.
This is one of those recipes you can set and forget about until your house is exploding with the aroma of something epic about to happen. Why go to the taqueria when you can BE the taqueria, you know?
What are Pork Carnitas
Carnitas are made from seasoned pork meat that has been cooked on low heat and slow (for a long time), then shredded and pan-fried until the edges get crispy and browned -with this final step being optional.
This heavenly cooked pork meat is most often used as a filling for tacos, tamales, burritos, amongst other delicious things- which we will get into later.
The slow cooker makes this recipe a simple option for weeknight dinners without having to go out to eat! Leftovers also taste like a million bucks.
Ingredients for Pork Carnitas Tacos
Here’s a look at the ingredients you’ll need to make these pork carnitas:
- pork shoulder roast
- salt & pepper
- dried oregano
- chili powder
- olive oil
- corn tortillas – Or my homemade paleo tortillas
- taco toppings!
You’ll find a printable recipe card with the measurements and directions below.
Best Cut of Pork for Carnitas
When it comes to the best cut of pork, I like using pork shoulder or pork butt. It has a little more fat, which helps keep the meat tender. Otherwise, you can also use pork loin and boneless pork chops.
How to Make Pork Carnitas in the Slow Cooker
Grab your slow cooker, and let’s make some pork carnitas!
- Prep the meat
Rinse the pork with water and pat dry with a paper towel. Transfer it to a large cutting board.
- Make a wet rub
Whisk the olive oil with spices, salt, and black pepper to form a paste in a small bowl.
- Roll up your sleeves
Using your hands, spread the ‘wet rub’ onto the roast, rubbing the spices into the meat.
- Slow cook
Transfer the roast into the slow cooker and add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Squeeze the fresh orange juice over the roast before tossing the rind and all into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours or high for 4 hours.
- Shred the meat
Once the roast is tender and easily pulls apart when poked with a fork, shred the meat between 2 forks.
- Make it crispy
In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the pulled pork to the skillet and sauté until the edges develop a brown ‘crust. This. Is. Flavortown.
- Assemble and devour
Warm-up those tortillas. Place some of the carnitas onto a tortilla and top with the guac, sour cream, cheese- the works.
Want to see how easy it is? Watch this quick recipe video!
Crispy Pork Carnitas
The one step that sets pork carnitas apart from regular pulled pork tacos is pan-frying the cooked meat until the edges get crispy and golden brown. It adds an entirely new dimension of flavor and helps lock in the juices from the meat.
I recommend completing this step by working in batches, so you don’t overcrowd the pan. The pork can cook in a single layer, and each piece gets that flavorful crust.
However, if you’re short on time, pan-frying isn’t necessary for a delicious taco night. Just serve the meat straight from the slow cooker into a tortilla with your favorite toppings and dig in!
Carnitas Tacos Toppings
When it comes to topping your carnitas tacos, don’t be shy. You can get as fancy as you like or keep it simple. Either way, this will be an epic taco night. Here are some ingredients I like to serve with carnitas:
- Pico de Gallo
- Avocado Salsa
- sour cream
- Chopped cilantro
- Cotija cheese
- Queso Fresco
- any cheese
- chopped red onion
- Lime wedges
What to Serve with Pork Carnitas
If you want to keep it low-carb, try the carnitas in a lettuce cup with your favorite toppings or over a bed of lettuce. It’s a delicious way to fill up without weighing yourself down.
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos
- 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, coarsely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and ribs removed, chopped
- 1 orange, cut in half
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Corn tortillas
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- avocado slices
- sour cream
- Rinse the pork shoulder and pat dry with a paper towel. Transfer to a large cutting board and generously season with salt and black pepper.
- In a small bowl, combine the oregano, cumin, chili powder, and olive oil. Whisk to form a paste.
- Using your hands, spread the ‘wet rub’ onto the roast and rub the spices into the meat.
- Transfer the pork to the dish of a slow cooker. Add the diced onion and garlic. Squeeze the fresh orange juice over the roast before tossing the orange halves into the slow cooker.
- Cover and set to cook for 4 hours on high or 10 hours on low.
- Once the meat is tender and pulls apart easily, remove the roast onto the cutting board and shred the meat between 2 forks.
- In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, place the shredded pork in an even layer in the skillet. Cook until the edges develop a brown crust.
- Prior to serving, warm the corn tortillas.
- To serve, place some of the pork onto a tortilla and top with cheese, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream.