Crockpot Carnitas aka Mexican Pulled Pork is the best pulled pork recipe because of one secret ingredient! They’re best enjoyed wrapped inside of a tortilla, in a burrito bowl, or right off the pan.
Pork Carnitas Recipe
I wasn’t planning to do a post for these pork carnitas, but after hearing how much you all loved the Slow Cooker Carnitas Tater Tot Nachos, I decided I had to!
These pulled pork carnitas are seriously the BEST. I mean, my mouth waters just thinking about them. They’re tender, crispy, salty, sweet…literally all of the best things.
So I’m excited to have a blog post specifically dedicated to them because they freaking deserve it!
What Are Carnitas?
Carnitas are the Mexican version (aka the best version) of pulled pork.
They’re similar to pulled pork in the way that they both come from the same cut of meat (pork shoulder or pork butt) and then cooked slowly for several hours. They’re great to make in the slow cooker or the instant pot!
Pulled pork can be enjoyed right out of the slow cooker, but carnitas are finished by broiling them in the oven until they are charred and crispy (not burnt).
What To Eat With Carnitas
I love serving carnitas in tacos in place of regular pulled pork, but recently I’ve been really into making these Carnitas Tater Tot Nachos! You can also serve them alone with a side of Cilantro Lime Farro or rice.
How To Make Pork Carnitas
1. Season the pork. Combine all of the spices and brown sugar in a small bowl and rub it evenly over the pork.
2. Slow cook the pork. The key to making tender carnitas with lots of flavor is cooking the pork low and slow. Line the bottom of the slow cooker with a sliced yellow onion, then add the orange juice, lime juice, and pork. Cook for 7-8 hours on low. When it’s finished, remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred the meat with two forks.
3. Broil the pork. To get my carnitas extra crispy and flavorful, I sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar and paprika on top before putting them on a baking sheet in the oven and broiling them on high for 5-6 minutes until they are charred and crispy (not burnt). You shouldn’t need to toss them at all.
When they’re finished, they’ll be crispy with just a touch of sweetness. Pure perfection!
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Crispy Crockpot Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork)
- 1 3-4 pound pork shoulder boneless or bone-in
- 1 large white onion sliced into 1.5 inch rounds
- 1 large orange juice
- 1 lime juice
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 3 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsps light brown sugar, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 2 tsps paprika, and 2 tsps cumin. Rinse the pork under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Rub the spice mixture over all sides of the pork.
- Line the bottom of the slow cooker with the sliced white onion, orange juice, and lime juice. Add the pork and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
- When the pork is finished cooking, preheat the broiler to high and remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred the meat with two forks. Arrange the pulled pork in a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle one tbsp of brown sugar and 1 tsp of paprika over the meat. Place the baking sheet on the top rack of the oven and broil for 5-6 minutes until the pork is charred and crispy (not burnt).