One of my all-time favorite recipes! The slow cooker keeps these carnitas moist and loads them up with flavor. Best combo for tacos is carnitas, salsa verde, onion, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. So good! mexicanplease.com
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4.84 from 6 votes

Pork Carnitas Slow Cooker Recipe

One of my all-time favorite recipes! The slow cooker keeps these carnitas moist and loads them up with flavor. Best combo for tacos is carnitas, salsa verde, onion, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. So good! 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 8
Calories: 509kcal
Author: Mexican Please

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. pork shoulder
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
  • olive oil

For the tacos:

  • 12-16 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • finely chopped cilantro
  • 3-4 limes

For the Salsa Verde:

  • 4 tomatillos
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 10-15 sprigs cilantro
  • 1 serrano pepper (jalapeno is fine too)

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl combine the spice rub ingredients:  2 teaspoons oregano, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 tablespoon adobo sauce, 2 teaspoons salt, freshly cracked pepper, and a dollop of olive oil.
  • Trim off any excess fat from the pork shoulder and chop it into large chunks, approximately 2-3 inches wide.  Add to the mixing bowl and thoroughly rub the spices into the pork chunks.
  • Add the pork to the slow cooker, along with a roughly chopped onion, 4 peeled garlic cloves, and a jalapeno.  Squeeze as much orange and lime juice into the slow cooker as you can.  I add the leftover orange pieces to the slow cooker but this is optional.
  • Cook for 6-8 hours on low, or approximately 4 hours on high.  When the meat pulls apart easily and is fully cooked on the inside it is done. 
  • Remove any large veggie pieces and shred the pork pieces using two forks or a spatula.  Taste for salt level and add additional salt if necessary (very important!).  Let the shredded pieces cook for another 10-15 minutes in the slow cooker so the juices can infuse into the shredded meat.
  • To crisp up the carnitas, you can either cook them in a skillet over medium-high heat with a bit of oil until the juices evaporate and one side crisps up, or you can cook them under the broiler in the oven for 5 minutes or so. 
  • To make pork carnitas tacos, warm up 12-16 corn tortillas.  Each tortilla gets carnitas, Salsa Verde, finely chopped onion, cilantro, and a final squeeze of lime. 
  • To make Salsa Verde, pull the husks off the tomatillos and give them a good rinse.  Cut the stems out of the tomatillos.  Roast the tomatillos in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until they start to turn army green.  Add tomatillos to a blender along with 1/2 onion, 1 garlic clove, 10-15 sprigs cilantro, and 1/2 of the serrano pepper.  Pulse blend and taste for heat level, adding more serrano if necessary.
  • Store leftover carnitas in their juices in an airtight container in the fridge.

Notes

I didn't sear the pork pieces before putting them in the slow cooker, but you are welcome to experiment with that.   
Don't forget to taste for seasoning after you shred the pork pieces; a final dash of salt can really enhance the flavors.   And definitely let the meat simmer in the juices for another 10-15 minutes once you shred it as this makes a huge difference!
If you are crisping up your carnitas under the broiler, try to strain some liquid off of them before adding to the oven.  This will help them crisp up quicker and you can always drizzle the liquid back over them after coming out of the oven. 
What Meat is Carnitas?
 

Nutrition

Calories: 509kcal