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Pork Carnitas (Mexican Sluggish Cooker Pulled Pork)

Each tortilla goals of being full of Pork Carnitas. The most effective of the very best of Mexican meals, seasoned pork is sluggish cooked till tender earlier than gently teasing aside with forks and pan frying to golden, crispy perfection. The elusive mixture of juicy and crispy with excellent seasoning, this can be a 5 minute prep job!

Pile of golden, crispy and juicy Pork Carnitas on a white plate.

Is there something higher on this world than pork, slowly cooked till it’s loopy juicy and collapse tender then crisped to golden perfection?

Sure. When it’s inside a taco. 😂

Overhead photo of two Pork Carnitas Tacos with tequila shots on the side.


In case you’re new to Pork Carnitas, let me be the primary to welcome you to your new dependancy.

Pork Carnitas are Mexico’s model of pulled pork. It’s the very first thing you search upon touchdown in Mexico. It’s why we trawled the again streets of Mexico Metropolis in torrential rains, looking down a hole-in-the-wall carnitas joint that was fashionable with locals.

Made by sluggish cooking pork absolutely submerged in lard, this confit methodology of cooking yields pork that’s unbelievably wealthy and tender with a great deal of crispy golden bits.

Sadly for many house cooks, an enormous cauldron of lard isn’t viable or sensible.

However happily, it is potential to make carnitas that tastes very comparable to genuine Pork Carnitas with out gallons of lard. And it’s unbelievably easy.

Close up overhead shot of crispy golden and juicy Pork Carnitas .


I went by way of ALOT of Pork Carnitas recipes earlier than deciding on this as The One. I’ve been loyal to it for over a decade as a result of it ticks all my packing containers:

  1. Simple, and made with pure components;
  2. Has sufficient flavour such that it may be eaten plain;
  3. Adequately subtle flavour so it may be utilized in any Mexican dish (over salting and over spicing is a typical downside);
  4. Has excellent caramelized brown bits whereas retaining the unimaginable juiciness from sluggish cooking;
  5. Continues to be tremendous juicy even after freezing and defrosting; and
  6. Is simple to maintain recent even hours after cooking it (preferrred for gatherings!).
Pork Carnitas Tacos and sides

Pork Carnitas Tacos and sides


For final juicy pulled pork stuffed with flavour, you possibly can’t beat pork shoulder, aka pork butt. Bone in or out, it must be skinless so it may be rubbed with a easy spice mixture of oregano and cumin, plus the compulsory salt and pepper.

Prime with onion, garlic and jalapeño, then pour over orange juice. It sounds so easy, however with hours of sluggish cooking, mingling with the pork juices, it transforms into essentially the most unimaginable braising broth that greater than makes up for the absence of gallons of lard.

Preparation steps for Pork Carnitas cooked in a slow cooker, instant pot or pressure cooker.


Don’t skip the step to brown the Pork Carnitas! That is the important thing that makes these Pork Carnitas the greatest Pork Carnitas you’ll have exterior of Mexico.

Hand on coronary heart, it’s pretty much as good because the carnitas I had at a extremely genuine Mexican joint known as Outdated City Mexican Cafe in San Diego which is well-known for its Pork Carnitas.

So should you assume you’ve had nice Pork Carnitas earlier than, however should you haven’t tried browning in a skillet, that is going to blow your thoughts!

Pork Carnitas being crisped to golden in a black skillet.


Whereas Tacos de Carnitas will all the time be my favorite little one, pork this juicy and stuffed with flavour (to not point out these loopy golden crispy bits) is very versatile – plus it freezes 10000% completely.

I take advantage of Pork Carnitas to make Enchiladas, Burritos, Quesadillas, Sliders, Mexican pizzas. I toss the into my Mexican Fried Rice (don’t snort, this can be a agency favorite with many readers!), and I pile them over Mexican Purple Rice with a aspect of Pico de Gallo or Guacamole, and steamed corn.

And naturally, I eat it straight out of the skillet. 😂

Mexican Red Rice and Pork Carnitas

And the very best half?

You’re simply 5 minutes away from getting this Pork Carnitas in your sluggish cooker, stress cooker or oven.

It may be frozen with none lack of high quality.

There are simple methods to pan fry to golden perfection and nonetheless be juicy and recent hours later – even after refrigerating.

There’s a motive I’m hardly ever with no stash of Carnitas in my freezer!!! – Nagi xx

Overhead shot of crispy golden and juicy Pork Carnitas .

Pork Carnitas (Mexican Sluggish Cooker Pulled Pork)

Recipe VIDEO under. Scale recipe utilizing Servings slider.

Pan frying to get the golden bits is just not non-compulsory! Broiling/grilling won’t produce the identical outcomes. Stuff them in tacos for an genuine Tacos de Carnitas expertise. Or use for nachos, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas – the probabilities are limitless! See FAQ under recipe for additional info.

  • 2 kg / four lb pork shoulder (pork butt), skinless, boneless (5lb/2.5kg bone in) (Observe three) ((Observe 1))
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded, chopped
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • four cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 oranges, juice solely (or three/four cup juice)


  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp floor cumin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Rinse and dry the pork shoulder, rub with salt and pepper.

  2. Mix the Rub components then rub all around the pork.

  3. Place the pork in a sluggish cooker (fats cap up), high with the onion, jalapeño, minced garlic (don’t fear about spreading it) and squeeze over the juice of the oranges.

  4. Sluggish Cook dinner on low for 10 hours or on excessive for six hours. (Observe 2 for different prepare dinner strategies)

  5. Pork must be tender sufficient to shred. Take away from sluggish cooker and let cool barely. Then shred utilizing two forks.

  6. Non-compulsory: Skim off the fats from the juices remaining within the sluggish cooker and discard. 

  7. When you’ve got much more than 1 1/2 – 2 cups of juice, then scale back it (both within the sluggish cooker on the sauté setting with the lid off, or in a saucepan). The liquid will probably be salty, it’s the seasoning for the pork. Set liquid apart.

To Crisp:

  1. Warmth 1 tbsp of oil in a big non stick pan or nicely seasoned skillet over excessive warmth. Place shredded pork into the pan, drizzle over some juices. Wait till the juices evaporate and the underside aspect is golden brown and crusty. Flip and simply briefly sear the opposite aspect – you don’t need to make it brown throughout as a result of then it’s too crispy, want tender juicy bits.

  2. Repeat in batches (takes me four batches) – don’t crowd the pan.
  3. Take away pork from skillet. Drizzle over extra juices and serve scorching.

  4. Carnitas are made for stuffing in tacos! See Observe for sides and sauces, in addition to different methods to make use of Carnitas and storage.

1. The Pork: Use pork with the pores and skin eliminated however leaving a number of the fats cap on. The fats provides juiciness to the carnitas – and extra fats will be skimmed off later.

Completely different sizes: Recipe advantageous as is for 1.7 – 2.5kg / three.5 – 5 lb pork. Scale recipe utilizing recipe scaler (hover/click on on servings and slide) and the opposite components will change. These are boneless pork weights (add zero.5kg/1lb for bone):

1 – 1.5 kg / 2 – three lb: eight hours on low.
1.5 – three kg / three – 6 lb: Cook dinner time per recipe. 
three – four kg / 6 – eight lb: Use massive oval sluggish cooker, 12 hours on low.

2. Different cooking strategies:

Electrical stress cooker or Prompt Pot: 1 h 30 minutes on excessive. Let stress launch naturally. Proceed with Step 5 of recipe.

Range stress cooker: use a rack or balls of scrunched up foil to raise it from the bottom OR add three/four cup of water. Cook dinner 1 h 30 minutes. Proceed with Step 5 of recipe.

Oven: Observe recipe however put pork in roasting pan. Add 2 cups water round pork. Cowl tightly with foil, roast in 325F/160C oven for two hours, then roast for an extra 1 to 1.5 hours uncovered. Add extra water if the liquid dries out an excessive amount of. It is best to find yourself with 1 1/2 to 2 cups of liquid when it finishes cooking, and you may skip the pan frying step as a result of you’re going to get a pleasant brown crust in your pork. Shred pork then drizzled with juices.

three. Taco Fixing: Diced avocado or make an actual correct Guacamole, Pico de Gallo or Restaurant Model Salsa and even simply sliced tomato, grated cheese, bitter cream. Sliced lettuce or pickled cabbage / crimson onions would even be nice, however in contrast to different tacos, you don’t want it for the feel as a result of the carnitas have the crispy bits! Additionally see this Carnitas Tacos dinner unfold.

four. Different Methods to make use of Carnitas: Burritos (swap for the meat), Quesadillas (baked model right here), Enchiladas, Sliders, with Mexican Purple Rice, in Taco Soup or Enchilada Soup.

5. Storing / Make Forward: Crispiness is retained very nicely, important factor is lack of moisture as meat cools (occurs with all meat, shredded meat cools quicker).

a) Finest method to retailer: Shred pork however don’t pan fry. Maintain pork and juice separate, refrigerate as much as three days or freeze as much as three months (for freezer, I put pork in containers/ baggage and put juice in ziplock baggage in the identical container).

Gently reheat juice to make it pourable (congeals when chilly). Pan fry per recipe, drizzling with juice.

b) Storing leftovers after pan frying: Retains extraordinarily nicely, however tends to lose juiciness when it cools down. Simply drizzle with juice, cowl with cling wrap and reheat – the crispy bits maintain up very nicely. It’s not fairly as crispy as when cooked recent, however nonetheless severely tasty.

c) Brown pork just a few hours forward / preserve heat: Works extraordinarily nicely. Brown pork per recipe, then switch to sluggish cooker on heat setting or meals hotter and drizzle generously with juices to maintain it moist. Cowl loosely. So long as the pork is heat when served, it’s actually juicy. The crispiness holds up extraordinarily nicely.

6. Diet per serving, pork solely, assuming 12 servings. That is overstated as a result of it doesn’t take note of the fats that’s discarded. Additionally most pork shoulders bought from the grocery store and butchers have been trimmed i.e. they don’t have a brilliant thick layer of fats on the floor.

Initially printed July 2014, up to date with some new pictures, new phrases in submit, cleaned up my writing and added extra sensible ideas for making forward (particularly, pan frying then serving hours later).


Sluggish Cooker Pork Carnitas recipe video! NOTE: My Sluggish Cooker (Breville Quick-Sluggish Cooker) is multi-functional and can also be a stress cooker, therefore why it seems to be like a stress cooker with the twisting high. The sluggish cooking perform isn’t any totally different to any normal sluggish cooker.

Continuously Requested Questions

Can I take advantage of pork tenderloin? Sorry to say it’s not appropriate for this recipe. Tenderloin is just too lean so the lengthy prepare dinner time will dry it out. Additionally, it doesn’t shred into strands nicely.

Simply to verify – no liquid aside from the juice from the oranges?? Actually? YES, actually. 🙂 The small quantity of liquid from the oranges is all you have to preserve it from drying out whereas it involves temperature, then whereas it cooks the pork will drop juices. When this finishes cooking you’ll have extra liquid than you began with.

Will it style of oranges?? ??? Nope, in no way! It magically turns into essentially the most unimaginable broth that’s then poured over the shredded pork.

Can I prepare dinner a frozen pork? Please don’t! It will mess with the prepare dinner time rather a lot as a result of it is going to take sooooo lengthy for the center of the pork to prepare dinner, by which era the surface will probably be overcooked and whenever you shred it, it is going to virtually seem like mush! The pork should be defrosted!

After I skim off the fats, do I embrace the onions garlic and jalapeños when topping the meat, or do I discard these and solely use the juices? It’s as much as you! As a result of it’s been sluggish cooked, the onion and many others is admittedly comfortable and it simply melds into the pulled pork. I don’t hassle straining it, however you possibly can if you wish to.

Will this work with pork stew chunks? It’ll undoubtedly work and nonetheless be tasty however received’t be fairly the identical as a result of smaller items of pork will prepare dinner quicker so that you received’t get fairly the identical quantity of flavour. 🙂

Simply to verify – no pan frying to brown the pork earlier than placing it within the sluggish cooker? That’s proper! You brown the pork AFTER it’s cooked and shredded.

What measurement sluggish cooker do you employ? Mine is 6 quarts / 6 litres. I take advantage of this Breville Quick / Sluggish Cooker (I’m in Australia) which I love as a result of it’s a stress cooker and sluggish cooker in a single, plus it has a saute setting!


I first printed this recipe again in 2014, once I was new to running a blog. I took sooooo lengthy with the pictures – extended torture for Dozer!






The submit Pork Carnitas (Mexican Sluggish Cooker Pulled Pork) appeared first on RecipeTin Eats.

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