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carnitas taco in flour tortilla with bowl of carnitas also shown
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4.41 from 5 votes

Slow Cooker Carnitas - Mexican Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas ~ authentic flavored Mexican pork carnitas. Delicious as tacos or nachos. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Searing the meat:10 mins
Total Time4 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: slow cooker carnitas, carnitas, slow cooker pork carnitas, slow cooker recipes
Servings: 6
Author: A Gouda Life


  • slow cooker/crockpot


The Rub:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds pork tenderloin
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

The Rest:

  • 1/4 cup beer OR chicken stock
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • 2 whole oranges juiced OR 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 medium onion peeled and quartered
  • 1 whole jalapeno seeds/stems removed-rough chopped
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro diced


  •  In a medium size bowl, blend the cumin, chili powder, brown sugar, salt, pepper and 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cut the pork into 2” cubes then add to the bowl and toss to thoroughly coat the meat.
  • Pour the beer OR stock into the slow cooker along with the lime juice, juice from the oranges and their rinds, onion, garlic and jalapeno then add the seasoned pork cubes.
  • Sprinkle the cilantro over the top then cover and cook on high 3-4 hours (or 6-7 on low) or until the pork is fork tender and shreddable but before it gets mushy.
  • Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred using two forks. I prefer a more coarse shred – almost chunky, but shred as fine you like.

To Crisp the Carnitas:

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Working in batches add some of the pork to the skillet in a single layer then add a couple of tablespoons of the juices from the slow cooker. 
  • Let the juices evaporate and the pork caramelize on one side then remove from the skillet (don’t sear both sides or the meat may become dry). Repeat until all the pork is seared.