You guys know that I am about the laziest cook that there is, right? I love my Crock Pot more than any other small appliance in my kitchen.
This Pork Carnitas Meat is a Crowd Pleaser!
Pork Carnitas are one of my top favorite dinners and my kids even request this pulled pork recipe (that’s a win in my book!). In fact, I make Carnitas almost every week since this subtle-tasting broiled pork is perfect for so many special occasions and gatherings with my family and friends.
Pork Carnitas are easy to prepare since it takes just 30 minutes to prep and the Crock Pot does the rest of the work. When they’re done, Carnitas can stay fresh and crispy for several hours and whatever isn’t used within a couple days can be stored in the freezer for up to two months.
I have my favorite pork Carnitas tacos at the local taco joint, but it just closed down (insert sad face!) so I had to come up with my own original savory recipe, which tastes like those being sold in the busy streets and at our local shop. This is now our go-to Pork Carnitas recipe – exactly the way we love it:
- All-natural ingredients including spices and herbs
- Quick preparation time (less than 10 minutes)
- Flavorful enough without too much spice (kid friendly)
- Freezes well for leftovers
- Safe for reheating without losing the flavor
- Applicable to several Mexican dishes including soups, bread, and even rice
- Enticing to kids and non-spicy food lovers
What are Carnitas?
If tortillas and burritos could speak, they’d all want to be stuffed with Carnitas. Perfect for “lazy-type” cooks, pork Carnitas is a popular Mexican cuisine where seasoned pork is gradually cooked with liquids and spices until it becomes juicy and tender. Cooking time will always take more than five hours depending on the size of your pork cut and Crock Pot.
However, it’s now possible to achieve that heavenly crispiness at home. You can have it done effortlessly with just your slow cooker and broiler. If you wish to save time, you can prepare the marinated pork cut the night before and have it cooked in your crock-pot until the next morning. Though you need to wait patiently, I suggest cooking the seasoned pork shoulder even longer and let it “caramelized” to bring all the flavors out. YUM!
And, for all of the Instant Pot users, you can also get the same outcome even if you use an instant pot or a regular pressure cooker as long as you have browned the meat cut in the skillet first.
How to Make Carnitas?
Ingredients for these Pork Carnitas:
Pork Carnitas Meat
The pork carnitas meat for these pork nachos is fabulous and the options are endless! You could make Pork Carnitas tacos, enchiladas and much more!
5-7 pound Pork Shoulder Roast (Pork Butt or Boston Butt), cubed in 3 inch cubes
1 Tablespoon of Vegetable Oil
12 oz Dr Pepper
1 White Onion, diced
5 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Chipotle in Adobo from the can + 1 Teaspoon of the paste
2 1/2 Teaspoons Cumin
1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt (I love using Himalayan Salt)
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Teaspoons Liquid Smoke
Fixins for Pork Carnitas Nachos
Directions for making the pork carnitas in the Crock Pot:
- Combine black pepper, salt, chili powder, cumin and oregano in a small mixing bowl. Rub the mixed spices on all sides of the pork shoulder thoroughly to make it flavorful. Remember to remove the pork skin, so the mixture will be absorbed easily.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat for two minutes. When the skillet becomes hot, add in the pork and sear the pieces for about 2-3 minutes per side. Believe me, this is going to be the ultimate game-changer to make your Carnitas taste like the original.
- Put the pork shoulder in the slow cooker and then add in the onion, soda, chipotle, garlic, seasonings and the rest of the spices. Cover the crock-pot and cook the seasoned pork for the next eight hours on low heat or at least five hours if you prefer medium to high heat. In addition, don’t let the sauce or liquid dry up during cooking time to avoid getting it burned.
- After eight hours, remove the cooked pork shoulder from the crock-pot and carefully shred off the meat fibers with a fork before putting it back. Add salt, juice, and pepper to taste if desired. Cover the shredded meat and keep warm for an additional 30 minutes. This will absorb most of the sauce, thus making it even more flavorful.
- Using a slotted spoon, take the shredded pork from the crock-pot and place it in a baking sheet, evenly laid out. Arrange each baking sheet of pork in a broiler or oven and heat for five minutes or longer. You can put some sauce from the slow cooker and gently stir the pork carefully for every five minutes until golden crisp. You see what I mean, don’t you? Be cautious not to get it burned, but at least try to make the texture a little bit dry and crispy.
One thing more, you can’t throw a taco party without your choice of fixins like guacamole, cheese, salsa, sour cream and all sorts of tortilla chips. That’s what I call a delicious dinner!
This flavorful Mexican favorite is indeed versatile in many ways whether you want to have it as a wonderful snack, taco filler or just something delicious on the side. I often use pork Carnitas meat in tacos, Mexican pizzas, burritos, Enchiladas, and Quesadillas, among others.
Pork Carnitas Meat
- Crock Pot
- 5-7 pound Pork Shoulder Roast Butt or Boston Butt, cubed in 3 inch cubes
- 1 Tablespoon of Vegetable Oil
- 12 oz Dr Pepper
- 1 White Onion diced
- 5 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 1 Chipotle in Adobo from the can + 1 Teaspoon of the paste
- 2 1/2 Teaspoons Cumin
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt I love using Himalayan Salt
- 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 2 Teaspoons Liquid Smoke
- Fixins for Pork Carnitas Nachos
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat
- When the skillet is hot, add in the pork and sear the pieces for about 2-3 minutes per side.
- Put the pork back in the 6 Quart Crock Pot
- Add in the onion, soda, chipotle, garlic and seasonings
- Cover and cook on low for 8 hours
- After 8 hours check to make sure the pork shreds easily (that's when it's done slow cooking)
- Line two large baking sheets with foil
- Using a slotted spoon, take pork from the slow cooker and place it in an even layer on the lined baking sheets
- Place each sheet of pork under the broiler in periods of five minutes, ladling more sauce from the Crock Pot and stirring the pork carefully between five minute sessions.