Pork Carnitas Recipe
These are the BEST Pork Carnitas (Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork) you will ever try! Or so say all the reviews! These Slow Cooker Carnitas are super juicy, easy and so much more flavorful than other versions complete with glorious caramelized crispy burnt ends! They are great for large crowds or make ahead meals and makes the best tacos, burritos, nachos, salads, etc!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 360 minutes
- 4-5 lbs pork shoulder/pork butt trimmed of excess fat
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoons liquid smoke **
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, deveined, deseeded, chopped
Wet Spice Rub
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 tsps EACH dried oregano, salt
- 1 tsp EACH chili pwdr, garlic pwdr, onion pwdr
- 1/2 tsp EACH smoked paprika, pepper
- 1/2-1 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper (optional for heat)
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Using tongs or 2 forks, sear pork on all sides until lightly browned. Transfer pork to cutting board until cool enough to handle.
- Meanwhile, whisk together all of the Wet Spice Rub ingredients in a medium bowl. When pork is cool enough, massage Wet Spice Rub evenly all over then transfer pork to slow cooker. Add orange juice, lime juice, liquid smoke, and 2 bay leaves to slow cooker. Top pork with onions and jalapeno. Cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours OR until pork is fall apart tender and easily shreds with a fork.
- Remove pork from slow cooker to cutting board, shred, and add back to slow cooker and toss with juices. Cook on low for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with foil.
- After 20 minutes, remove pork (do NOT discard juices in slow cooker) and add shredded pork to both baking sheets in an even layer. Drizzle with some of the remaining juices (about 1/4 cup) and bake for 15 minutes then broil to desired crispiness, watching closely so meat doesn’t burn (about 5-10 minutes). Drizzle with additional juices and toss.
- Serve warm in tortillas, on rice, salad, etc. with favorite toppings.
This pork is a great springboard for several variations. For a saucy version, instead of broiling the pork, drain off excess juices then add (more or less to taste): 1/2 cup enchilada sauce, 1/4 cup salsa, 4 oz. green chilies and brown sugar and hot sauce to taste.
**Liquid Smoke can be found next to the barbecue sauces in your grocery store and adds a wonderfully smokey flavor.